DEPUE — There was a message that the Marquette Crusaders sent at their Tri-County Conference matchup at DePue on Friday night to all their future opponents:
Jack Snook is a terrific player and an all-state candidate, but there's enough on this team to beat you without him.
When the Little Giants came out in a box-and-1 defense in an effort to take away the senior guard, MA coach Todd Hopkins simply had Snook stay out on the perimeter and let his charges play DePue four-on-four until they changed that tactic. After about three minutes of having 6-5 center Chase Thumm have his way in the paint, the hosts adjusted, and Snook went to work.
He popped in his first points, a fadeaway jumper, with 2 minutes, 41 seconds left in the first quarter and collected the rest of his game-best 22 points by the end of the third period. His effort and a balanced, solid shooting attack (four in double figures, 59.1 percent as a team) earned the Cru a one-sided, 76-46 victory over their league rival.
Thumm and reserve Sean Kissel each contributed 12 points, and Logan Komater added 11 for the Crusaders, whose solid shooting included an outstanding 10 of 22 from the 3-point arc on its way to their fourth win in as many games in the league and 16th in 18 tries overall.
DePue falls to 6-13, 1-4 despite a terrific all-around game by senior Marcus Winfert, who posted 20 points and a game-best 14 rebounds. However, the Giants had no answer for the Cru, either with or without Snook.
"They came out and played a box-and-1 on Jack," said Hopkins, "so we just had him stand out here near halfcourt, and with the height advantage we had, just played them four-on-four until they came out of it. Give Jack some credit for that. It's tough for a player of his caliber to accept that for the first three minutes or so. They came out of it, and we started shooting the ball well.
"Chase was awesome at the beginning, working the high-low stuff with Vance (Childers), Sean came off the bench and gave us good minutes, and Logan, as his ankle heals, is getting better every time. ... We played a solid, all-around game."
Without Snook, MA used eight points inside from Thumm and five from Komater to take an 18-9 lead by the time Snook first scored, a margin that would have been bigger if not for the Giants' Devin Borostowski. His seven points in the first and six in the second kept the home team within striking distance, 31-22, until the final three minutes of the half.
That's when the Cru exploded for 15 straight points, starting with a Vic Mullen deuce at 2:38. Two buckets by Childers and a trio of 3-pointers by Snook against DePue's zone defense widened the gap 46-22 in a big hurry.
After that, though Winfert replaced Borostowski's hot hand with his 11 points in the third stanza, Snook dropped in seven and Komater six in that same span to maintain a 23-point MA lead through three.
"We played aggressive, we get after it, but you have to make shots, too," said DePue coach Charlie Klinefelter. "I thought Marcus did a great job tonight. He had a lot on him. They were playing him tough, but he's a heckuva ballplayer. He understands, too, that he needs to work. If he can add a little jumpshot to his game and starts hitting those 3s, watch out. He'll be even tougher.
"I told the kids, 'That's the No. 8 team in the state (in Class 1A), you have nothing to hang your heads about.' We didn't give up. We got up and down the court, but they're a well-coached team, good players with a lot of talent. I just hope we learn something from this that will help us if we meet them in the Tri-County Tourney."
Marquette 76, DePue 46
(Key: FG-FGA FT-FTA TP)
MARQUETTE (76) — Snook 8-15 2-2 22, Komater 5-7 0-0 11, Thumm 6-11 0-0 12, Melvin 1-2 0-0 3, Childers 4-5 0-0 8, Couch 2-7 0-0 6, Kissel 5-9 0-2 12, Mullen 1-1 0-2 2, Durdan 0-1 0-0 0, Price 0-1 0-0 0, Flavel 0-0 0-0 0, Amicon 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 32-61 2-6 76.
DEPUE (46) — Winfert 9-18 2-5 20, Ramirez 2-3 1-2 6, Borostowski 5-12 1-1 13, Quintana 2-5 0-0 4, Raya 1-8 0-0 3, Moreno 0-4 0-0 0, Villagomez 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-51 4-8 46.
Marquette (16-2, 4-0) 22 24 21 9 — 76
DePue (6-13, 1-4) 13 11 14 8 — 46
3-point goals — Marquette 10-22 (Snook 4-6, Kissel 2-4, Couch 2-7, Komater 1-1, Melvin 1-2, Price 0-1, Amicon 0-1), DePue 4-24 (Borostowski 2-7, Ramirez 1-2, Raya 1-7, Villagomez 0-1, Quintana 0-1, Winfert 0-3, Moreno 0-3). Rebounds — Marquette 36 (Thumm 8, Snook 7), DePue 31 Winfert 14). Turnovers — Marquette 5, DePue 20. Total fouls (none fouled out) — Marquette 11, DePue 11.