Redmen win battle of unbeatens

IRON MOUNTAIN – Taylor Huotari could have used a little help.

The Mountaineer senior scored a game-high 25 points, but his team managed only two more field goals and Marquette rolled in the second half to claim a 52-32 non-conference boys basketball victory Monday evening in Iron Mountain in a battle of unbeaten squads.

“We got beat by a pretty good team,” Mountaineers coach Harvey Johnson said. “Marquette is very good defensively, long and athletic. They changed some of our shots in the lane.

“We were trying to get to the basket because we’ve had success doing that this year. But we didn’t get there tonight.”

Marquette, led by Larry Burnette’s 14 points and Mark Pap’s 13 points and 15 rebounds, didn’t quite solve the Iron Mountain zone defense until the second half.

Points off turnovers and hard work on the offensive glass helped fuel the Redmen to a 7-0 start to the game, but Marquette really couldn’t up the advantage until after halftime.

“I thought Iron Mountain did a really good job, slowed the game down in the first half,” Marquette coach Brad Nelson said.

“Our possessions, we didn’t have many good ones. We took some bad shots.

“We were trying to see what they were in (defensively), and it took us some time to figure it out. But I think our pressure got us some easy buckets.”

A putback by A.J. Grazulis gave Marquette its first double figure lead at 24-13 late in the second quarter, but a triple by Huotari before the half cut the margin back down to single digits.

Marquette (6-0) went to the outside in the third quarter to open the game up.

Burnette hit his second triple of the game to make 28-16. Brad Brow scored two treys and eight points in a matter a couple of minutes off the bench, and the Redmen were suddenly up by 20.

“That’s what we needed,” Nelson said. “Our depth is kind of our strength. We got a lot of guys who can make points.

“We’ve got capable players, and that’s the type of stuff you need if you want to win these types of games.”

Marquette’s defense limited the Mountaineers (6-1) to single-digit quarters through three, including just three points in the third frame.

“Defensively I thought we were pretty solid against them,” Nelson said. “I knew it was going to be a slower game.

“Fortunately, we come out of here with a win, but Iron Mountain played pretty well.”

The Redmen took the JV game, 48-26.