LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Marquette coach Buzz Williams thinks his team is back on track with an 89-62 win over Mississippi State after a heartbreaking loss to Butler to open the Maui Invitational.
Vander Blue scored 18 points and Davante Gardner had a double-double as Marquette easily beat Mississippi State on Tuesday.
"I thought our response after what we went through yesterday was outstanding," Williams said. "It will be interesting to see how we handle it on the other side of it tomorrow morning."
That's when the Golden Eagles will play for fifth place in the eight-team tournament against the winner of a game between Texas and USC. Marquette, which is unranked but receiving votes in the AP Top 25, wants a strong finish to its Hawaii trip.
Against Mississippi State, Marquette (3-1) never trailed. And the Bulldogs never trailed by less than 10 points after the opening minutes.
Gardner finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Mississippi State didn't score in the first four minutes as the Golden Eagles built an 8-0 lead. Gavin Ware hit a jumper and Craig Sword had a steal and dunk to make it 8-4, but Marquette responded by scoring 10 straight points in less than two minutes. Marquette led 48-27 at the break.
Williams said he thought his team was efficient in the first half.
"In the first half I thought our energy was outstanding defensively," Williams said.
Fred Thomas opened the second half with a quick 3-pointer, but Marquette extended its lead to 24 points over the next 10 minutes. The Bulldogs never came within 17 points after that.
Mississippi State (1-3) had 22 turnovers — including 15 in the first half that led to 29 points for Marquette.
Marquette shot 52.1 percent (37 of 71). Trent Lockett had 13 points, Jamil Wilson had 11.
Thomas had 17 points for the Bulldogs. Roquez Johnson scored 16 points but limped off the court with help with just over nine minutes left.
Mississippi State coach Rick Ray said injuries kept his team from being able to make substitutions — for mistakes in the first half and fatigue in the second.
"They haven't given up, the team worked hard, played hard," Ray said. "We are just so short of bodies right now when you are playing three games in three days against quality competition."
The Bulldogs lost two freshmen for the season earlier this year, and Jalen Steele is out at least six weeks after breaking a wrist last week.
The tournament format — each team playing three games over a three-day span — put Monday's four losers into a consolation bracket.
Marquette lost Monday to Butler on Rotnei Clarke's buzzer beating 3-pointer to open the tournament. Later the same day, Mississippi State was torched by No. 9 North Carolina, which hit 15 3-pointers.
Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia .