MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- It took some home cooking for Scott Merritt and No. 23 Marquette to get rolling on offense.
Merritt scored 17 points as the Golden Eagles won their home opener, 79-41, over Savannah State, in the first round of the Blue and Gold Classic.
Marquette opened the game with a 22-5 run and never looked back. The Golden Eagles shot 45 percent (10-of-22) from the field in the first half before dropping back to 38 percent (19-of-50) for the game, but it was still a vast improvement over their 30 percent performance in a 52-45 win against St. John's in the opener.
"The crowd had something to do with it tonight," Marquette coach Tom Crean said of the crowd of 15,659 fans. "The fans, students especially, energized the place. Our players reacted to it."
Merritt shot 4-of-6 from the field and Travis Diener added 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
Joe Chapman had a career-high 13 points for the Golden Eagles, making 7-of-8 from the line. Fellow sophomore Karon Bradley added the best effort of his career with nine points.
But not everything was perfect for Marquette, as Savannah State had a 45-42 rebounding advantage, including 20 offensive rebounds.
"We gave up too many offensive rebounds," Diener said. "We have to get better boxing out."
Jamal Daniels was Savannah State's only scorer in double figures, collecting 11 points.
Savannah State shot just 16 percent (5-of-32) from the field in the first half, and shot 25 percent (15-of-60) overall.
"When you are playing (someone) bigger and stronger than you, most of the time you are going to come on the short end," Savannah State coach Ed Daniels said.
Marquette has won 32 of its last 33 home games and will face Valparaiso on Saturday after the Crusaders defeated Arkansas-Monticello, 72-53, in the first game.