GRANVILLE —It was unfortunately a very short stay for the Marquette boys basketball in last year's Tri-County Conference tournament as the then second-seeded Crusaders were upset in the quarterfinals, and then again in the consolation bracket semis.
However, this season's top-seeded boys in Blue and Gold, although they got off to a slow start during Wednesday night's contest against No. 8 seed DePue, weren't about to let that happen again.
The clubs were tied at 20-all with a minute gone in the second quarter, but the Crusaders — ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press Class 1A poll released earlier in the day — exploded on a game-changing 15-4 run over the next five minutes, then ran off the initial 10 points of the second half to eventually advance with a dominating 81-50 running-clock victory over the Little Giants here at R.M. Germano Gymnasium.
Marquette (19-2) now plays No. 4 Peoria Christian in the semifinals at 5 p.m. on Friday.
Logan Komater had a solid all-around game for Marquette as he scored a game-high 18 points to go along with three rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. Chase Thumm had a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Jack Snook and Victor Mullen added 13 and 12 points, respectively for MA, which held a 53-30 rebound advantage with 23 of those boards on the offensive end. DePue (8-15) received 14 points each from Johnny Raya and Marcus Winfert.
The Crusaders led 20-18 after the opening period with Snook and Thumm each scoring seven points and Komater adding four. DePue, which shot 7-of-14 from the field in the first, tied the game at the 7 minute, 41 second mark of the second on Raya's drive down the paint.
"I didn't feel we did a very good job defensively in the first half," said MA coach Todd Hopkins. "The intensity level wasn't there and we kind of coasted along, but the third quarter we came out and got after it. Our stances were better, we were doing a good job helping from the weak side and we just played defense the way we are capable of.
"We played them last week and beat them pretty good (76-46). You harp on the kids that the second time won't be as easy and it's not that we didn't play hard tonight, but we just didn't come out to the start of the game playing very good defense. But this was a lot better start to this tournament than we had last year."
Five straight points from Komater, a 3-pointer from the left corner by Luke Couch, two free throws and short jumper by Thumm off a Komater assist, an offensive rebound hoop — one of 11 by the Cru in the period — by Sean Kissel and two free tosses by Snook had the locals ahead 40-27 at the intermission.
"Logan is finally healthy and he has his first step back," Hopkins said. "He's battled a high ankle injury since the Colmone Classic, but I could see last Friday against Peoria Christian that he's back to 100 percent and he played well for us tonight. Chase also had a good night and Victor, Luke and Sean gave us some good minutes off the bench. We are going to need all those guys to continue that play for the rest of this tournament and season."
In the aforementioned 10-point spurt to start the second half, Marquette used a pair of rebound baskets by Mullen, two layups on the fastbreak by Komater and a Thumm low-post deuce to balloon the lead to 50-27 midway into the third, before heading to the final frame up 64-37. Mullen's old-fashion three-point play in the opening two minutes began the continuous running clock the rest of the way.
"Well, we showed up for one quarter." said DePue coach Charlie Klinefelter. "It was like after the first quarter, the kids decided they could do all the other stuff instead of doing the things they are supposed to do. We looked good in the first quarter, playing tough defense and making shots, then we started forcing shots and you can't do that against a really good team. Marquette is a very tough team and they aren't ranked seventh (in Class 1A) for nothing, but we got away from all the things that kept us in the game after the first quarter tonight."
Marquette 81, DePue 50
(Key: FG-FGA FT-FTA TP)
DEPUE (50) — Raya 5-11 0-0 14, Winfert 7-15 0-0 14, Ramierz 1-2 3-3 5, Borostowski 3-14 2-2 9, Quintana 2-8 0-0 4, Moreno 2-4 0-0 4, Villagomez 0-1 0-0 0, Tyson 0-1 0-0 0, Phillips 0-0 0-2 0, Hurtado 0-0 0-0 0, Hayes 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-56 5-7 50.
MARQUETTE (81) — Melvin 0-5 0-0 0, Snook 4-15 4-4 13, Komater 7-12 4-6 18, Thumm 7-11 3-4 17, Childers 1-3 0-0 2, Couch 1-7 0-0 3, Kissel 3-7 2-2 8, Mullen 5-7 2-3 12, Flavel 0-0 0-0 0, Amicon 0-1 0-0 0, Price 1-2 4-4 6, Durdan 0-0 0-0 0, Jones 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 30-72 19-23 81.
DePue (8-15) 18 9 10 13 — 50
Marquette (19-2) 20 20 24 17 — 81
3-point goals — DePue 5-25 (Raya 4-10, Winfred 0-3, Ramierz 0-1, Borostowski 1-7, Quintana 0-3, Moreno 0-1); Marquette 2-21 (Melvin 0-4, Snook 1-7, Komater 0-2, Couch 1-5, Kissel 0-3). Rebounds — DePue 30 (Quintana 7); Marquette 53 (Thumm 11, Snook 9, Melvin 7, Mullen 5). Assists — DePue 7 (Raya 2, Borostowski 2); Marquette 11 (Komater 3). Steals — DePue 4 (Raya 2); Marquette 4 (Komater 2). Blocks — DePue 1 (Quintana 1), Marquette 0. Turnovers — DePue 11, Marquette 5. Total fouls (fouled out) — DePue 19 (Winfert, Ramierz); Marquette 5.