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Howard helps No. 16 Marquette past Xavier 70-52

MILWAUKEE — Markus Howard scored 26 points, Sacar Anim had 20 and No. 16 Marquette remained unbeaten at home with a 70-52 victory over Xavier on Sunday.

The Golden Eagles (12-3, 1-1) bounced back from an 89-69 loss at St. John’s in their Big East opener on New Year’s Day. They improved to 11-0 at the new Fiserv Forum.

Naji Marshall had 21 points for Xavier (9-7, 1-2), and Paul Scruggs finished with 17.

Marquette opened a 16-point lead midway through the first half. The Golden Eagles led 35-26 at the break and then began the second half with a 13-2 run.

Joey Hauser’s jumper from the left side put Marquette up 48-28 with 11:40 remaining.

Ryan Welage’s 3-pointer, Xavier’s first of the game after 10 consecutive misses, cut the lead to 57-46 with 6:52 left.

Amin, who entered averaging 6.4 points, had 14 points in the first half.

The Musketeers shot just 31.5 percent (17 for 54) from the field. They made just of one of their first 11 shots to open the second half.

BIG PICTURE

Xavier: The Musketeers are searching for consistency under first-year coach Travis Steele. Xavier won its first two games, and then lost four straight. The Musketeers then won four in a row, but they have dropped four of their last seven now.

Marquette: To challenge in the Big East, the Golden Eagles need to figure out how to win on the road. In addition to a neutral-court loss to then-No. 2 Kansas in the NIT Season Tip-Off, Marquette has lost big in its only two road games, 96-73 at Indiana in mid-November; then an 89-69 loss at St. John’s on Jan. 1.

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