TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A dismal first half doomed South Florida against No. 24 Marquette.
Todd Mayo and Vander Blue both scored 13 points to help Marquette beat South Florida 70-47 on Wednesday night.
Mayo had all of his season-high 13 points in the first half as Marquette (16-5, 7-2 Big East) grabbed a 39-16 halftime lead.
“We dug ourselves a bad hole in the first half,” South Florida coach Stan Heath said. “Once they got off to that lead, it was hard to overcome that. Too good of a team to let them breakout to a lead,”
Junior Cadougan added 11 points for Marquette, which was coming off a 70-51 loss to then No. 12 Louisville last Sunday.
South Florida (10-12, 1-9), which has lost five in a row, got 14 points from Zach LeDay.
The Bulls made just 5 of 18 shots, and had 14 turnovers in the opening half. Marquette scored 23 points during the session off turnovers.
“It’s very frustrating being down, but we knew why we were down, it’s because of the turnovers,” LeDay said. “We need to fix that. We need to fix that, period.”
The Golden Eagles shot 53.8 percent (14 of 26) over the opening 20 minutes.
Marquette has dominated the all-time series, winning 19 of 22 games against the Bulls. The Golden Eagles won the other meeting between the teams this season, 63-50 on Jan, 28, behind 30 points by Blue.
“Obviously, I don’t want to reveal some of the specifics of the changes that we made, but I thought we executed them pretty well,” Williams said. “And I think it looks better, too, when you make shots. It wasn’t like it was James Naismith or anything as far as the adjustments.”
Cadougan opened the scoring with a 4-point play, part of an early 13-3 run by the Golden Eagles.
Mayo had a pair of 3’s during a 15-3 surge as Marquette extended its advantage to 32-13. The Golden Eagles took their biggest lead of the opening half, 38-13, with 2:10 left on Chris Otule’s basket.
South Florida got within 20 early in the second half before Marquette again went up by 25 on Cadougan’s long-range jumper.
Marquette later extended the lead to 29, at 62-33, when Blue scored on a layup with 6:08 remaining.
“They’re a dangerous team, a team with certain guys that want to play, especially down here,” Blue said. “You get down here, you get caught up in the weather and then you play in an arena with 2,000 fans. It’s all a setup, so you want to make sure that you come out and stick to your principles and do what you have to do.”
The announced crowd was 5,186.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.