Hayward, James help Marquette stomp Savannah State

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Bring on the big boys.

Marquette (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) has been feasting on cupcakes during its last four games -- including a 77-37 victory over Savannah State on Saturday -- and the Golden Eagles are ready to turn their attention to the Big East. Providence visits on Thursday.

"[Assistant coach] Tim Buckley said it best, in the four-and-a-half-day [Christmas] break we took, it wasn't to get ready for Savannah State, it was to get ready for February and March," Marquette coach Tom Crean said. "The Big East is a whole new deal. The players understand it and they don't need us to put a lot of exclamation points on that. They know that."

Against the Tigers, Lazar Hayward had 12 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 19 minutes for Marquette (10-1). Dominic James also had 12 points.

It was Marquette's sixth straight win since a four-point loss to Duke on Nov. 21. The Golden Eagles made half of their 3-pointers (8-16) and held Savannah State to 25.5 percent shooting (14-55).

The Golden Eagles have won their last four games by an average of 35.5 points.

"I definitely feel good about going into the Big East and the rest of the guys do too," Hayward said. "I think everybody is playing really well."

Dan Fitzgerald, who missed the last five games with a left wrist injury, added 11 points and had four of Marquette's 17 steals.

"It's great to be back," he said.

After Savannah State's Patrick Hardy opened the game with a 3-pointer, Marquette scored the next 13 points.

Reserve Curtis Brown scored nine points for Savannah State (7-11), which trailed 46-19 at halftime.

"If we don't score points early against these teams, it can get ugly," Savannah State coach Horace Broadmax said. "We left guys wide open. If we play defense like that, it can get ugly and it did."

Chris Linton added six points for the Tigers, who are 1-8 on the road. They had been averaging 59.9 points per game, but missed 10 of their first 13 attempts in the second half.

Maurice Acker capped a 10-0 run that gave Marquette a 63-25 lead with 10:46 left.

Both teams cleared their benches the rest of the way.

Marquette, which had nine offensive rebounds in the first 8:30 of the game, added a 16-0 run to put the game out of reach. Acker's basket capped the run and gave the Golden Eagles a 35-11 lead with 7:13 remaining in the half.

Savannah State finished the half with seven field goals and 14 turnovers.