With 18:07 to go on senior day, Chris Otule’s bucket stretched Marquette’s lead to 16 points. And he did it with a hook shot from his left, non-shooting hand.
It was that kind of day for the redshirt senior and the rest of the Golden Eagles as they knocked off No. 21 Notre Dame in front of the second-largest crowd to watch a basketball game in Wisconsin state history.
Coming into the matchup averaging around four points per game, Otule dominated the paint, finishing with a season-high 16 points and four rebounds.
“I wasn’t surprised,” senior guard Junior Cadougan said. “He has that in him, and I don’t know why he holds back, like in practice he be dominating.”
While Otule shined, Notre Dame’s leading scorer Jack Cooley struggled at both ends of the court. Cooley failed to score in just 15 minutes of play and was worked over several times by Otule on the glass.
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said Cooley was suffering from a “virus flu.”
“The second half, I just said, ‘forget it’,” Brey said. “Let’s get him home and get him healthy for Tuesday.”
After Otule’s bucket, Jamil Wilson helped put the Fighting Irish away, scoring 17 of his team-high 19 points in the second half. The performance tied a career high for the redshirt junior forward.
In his last game at the Bradley Center for Marquette, Cadougan had a nice day of his own, scoring seven points, dishing four assists and getting two big steals.
Marquette’s other senior, forward Trent Lockett, chipped in eight points and grabbed some late rebounds that coach Buzz Williams said “won the game.”
“He’s not the best player,” Williams said of Lockett, “but (with) his diligence and consistency, he’s an everyday guy. That’s why he’s fit in here. That’s why he’s started every day.”
While starting guards Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant scored 37 of Notre Dame’s 64 points, Marquette’s depth served the team well, as the Golden Eagles won the bench-scoring battle 32-20.
“When all 10 of our guys show up, then it becomes really difficult for me to get guys in and out,” Williams said. “I am not taking Jamil out when he is playing as well as he is. I am not taking Chris out when he is playing as well as he is. I am not taking Davante (Gardner) out when he is playing as well as he is. That is the kind of problem I want to have.”
Key performances from both of its seniors, as well as one who may or may not return to the roster next year, paced Marquette to an undefeated finish at the Bradley Center. Now, with the rest of the season on the road and in tournament play, the team will hope to continue that balanced play.