MILWAUKEE (AP) - Hours after Marquette and six other schools officially made the decision to leave the Big East Conference, the Golden Eagles went out and won their 1,500th game, beating Savannah State 71-51 on Saturday.
"That's awesome," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. "I'm thankful to be a part of it. Obviously I've contributed the least through those 1,500 games over the last 96 years.
"To win 1,500 games and only 42 other schools can say that, that tells you how important men's basketball is at Marquette."
Vander Blue and Davante Gardner each scored 14 points to pace Marquette. Junior Cadougan added 11 points and Steve Taylor contributed a career-high 10 points for the Golden Eagles (7-2).
"It's strictly just playing hard every possession," Cadougan said. "Getting stops, rebounding, pounding the offensive glass. Just playing really, really hard."
Savannah State (5-6) was led by Rashad Hassan's 14 points. Arnold Louis had 10 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Tigers, who are in the midst of five straight road games.
"I've said publicly and I've said to my team, Savannah State is really good," Williams said.
The Golden Eagles are 26-0 against teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. They are in the Big East for now - and a future conference name has yet to be determined - but Marquette, Georgetown, St. John's, Villanova, DePaul, Seton Hall and Providence announced Saturday that they will be moving on. Those seven schools are the ones in the conference who do not play FBS-level football.
On the court Saturday, Marquette pulled away with a 14-2 run in the second half to win for the fifth time in six games.
"We made some idiotic decisions," Savannah State coach Horace Broadnax said.
The stretch started after two free throws by Savannah State's Cedric Smith cut the Marquette lead to 50-42 with 8:20 to play.
Jamil Wilson almost turned the ball over on the other end, as he lost his balance on the left wing. He maintained his dribble, however, and Cadougan converted a three-point play for a 53-42 lead with 8:06 to play.
Another highlight of the run was after a missed shot by Marquette. Khiry White grabbed the rebound under the basket, when Gardner knocked it out of his hand and resulted in another three-point play for a 58-42 lead with 6:52 left.
Marquette capped the run holding a 64-44 lead - its biggest of the game - after a layup by Trent Lockett with 4:42 to go.
The Golden Eagles finished with a season-high 18 offensive rebounds and 24 made free throws.
"They're a solid defensive team and they do a good job of slowing you down," Cadougan said. "They tried to take us out of what we do. But we stayed strong and mentally tough."
Savannah's last lead in the game was 18-17 following a jump shot by Christopher Spears with 8:03 left in the opening half.
Marquette answered with a 10-1 run. Two free throws by Cadougan capped it to give the Golden Eagles their biggest lead of the half, 27-19, with 4:14 to play.
Marquette led 34-26 at the half, then scored the first 11 points of the second half. Savannah State had six turnovers and missed all five shots during the stretch to fall behind, 45-26, with 12:33 left. The Tigers used a full-court press to trim the margin to eight, but that's as close as they would get.
"I thought we were really good to start the second half," Williams said.