Men's basketball falls to Marquette in season opener


(From left) Freshman forward Ola Ajiboye and sophomore center Markus Harding box out during CMU's exhibition game against Northwood Thursday, Nov. 3 in McGuirk Arena.

Facing a packed Al McGuire Center full of Marquette students dressed in white, Central Michigan basketball found itself falling behind the Golden Eagles early in its season opener on Thursday. 

In the end, the Chippewas fell to the Golden Eagles with a final score of 97-73. 

Hope was swirling through CMU fans going ahead of the first game of the season against Marquette after the Chippewas dominated in their exhibition match against Northwood last week with an 88-61 win. 

During preseason festivities, CMU was without senior guard Brian Taylor and freshman guard Emil Skytta, but they were welcomed back to the court against the Golden Eagles. 

Although the Chippewas welcomed players back, the leading rebounder of the game sophomore center Nicolas Pavrette limped off the court in the second half. He had 10 rebounds. 

CMU struggled to contain Marquette sophomore forward David Joplin as he lit the fire in Milwaukee. Joplin finished with a game-high 23 points, hitting six shots from beyond the arc.  

Although the Chippewas' shooting improved after the half, turnovers continued to plague them throughout the game. CMU finished with 22 turnovers while allowing the Golden Eagles to score 28 points off turnovers. 

In his first game in Maroon-and Gold, junior guard Jesse Zarzuela led the team with 17 points,  going 6-for-11 from the field and 4-for-7 from three.

CMU found two of its top scorers Taylor and sophomore guard Kevin Miller in foul trouble in the second half. Sophomore center Markus Harding fouled out with two minutes left to play. 

Taylor finished the night with 15 points and nine rebounds, Miller added 14 points. 

The Chippewas are back home at McGuirk Arena on Sunday, as they take on Eastern Illinois at 2 p.m.