By RON DEUTER
IRON MOUNTAIN – Taylor Huotari could have used a little help.
The Mountaineer senior scored a game-high 25 points, but his team managed only two more field goals, and Marquette rolled in the second half to claim a 52-32 non-conference boys basketball victory here Monday evening in a battle of unbeaten squads.
“We got beat by a pretty good team,” Mountaineers coach Harvey Johnson said. “Marquette is very good defensively, long and athletic. They changed some of our shots in the lane.
“We were trying to get to the basket because we’ve had success doing that this year. But we didn’t get there tonight.”
Marquette, led by Larry Burnette’s 14 points and Mark Pap’s 13 points and 15 rebounds, didn’t quite solve the Iron Mountain zone defense until the second half.
Points off turnovers and hard work on the offensive glass helped fuel the Redmen to a 7-0 start to the game, but Marquette really couldn’t up the advantage until after halftime.
“I thought Iron Mountain did a really good job, slowed the game down in the first half,” Marquette coach Brad Nelson said. “Our possessions, we didn’t have many good ones. We took some bad shots.
“We were trying to see what they were in, and it took us some time to figure it out, but I think our pressure got us some easy buckets.”
A putback by A.J. Grazulis gave Marquette its first double figure lead at 24-13 late in the second quarter, but a three by Huotari before the half cut the margin back down to single digits.
“It was an eight point game at the half,” Johnson said. “Our kids battled all night long. We had a hard time scoring. Defensively, in the first half, I thought we did what we were supposed to do.”
Marquette (6-0) went to the outside in the third quarter to open the game up. Burnette hit his second triple of the game to make 28-16. Brad Brow scored two treys and eight points in a matter a couple of minutes off the bench, and the Redmen were suddenly up by 20.
Marquette’s defense limited the Mountaineers to single-digits quarters through three, including just three points in the third frame.
“Defensively I thought we were pretty solid against them,” Nelson said. “I knew it was going to be a slower game. Fortunately we come out of here with a win, but Iron Mountain played pretty well.”
Huotari’s night ended midway through the fourth, as both teams went to reserves for the final few minutes. His 25 points came on 9-of-16 shooting from the field, and 6-of-7 at the line.
“Our kids were battling hard and they were tanked,” Johnson said. “Give Marquette credit. They’re a good team.”
The Redmen took the jayvee game 48-26, but Iron Mountain’s freshmen, with 29 points from Tanner Huotari, posted a 76-35 triumph.
Iron Mountain (6-1) hosts Ishpeming Thursday.
Marquette 16 8 15 13 – 52
Iron Mountain 9 7 3 13 – 32
MARQUETTE: Burnette 14, Pap 13, Brow 8, Nyquist 5, Grazulis 4, Brazeau 4, Process 2, Bashaw 2. FT: 5-12. F: 13.
IRON MOUNTAIN: Huotari 25, Jacobs 3, Brooks 2, Zambon 1. FT: 8-12. F: 12.
FG shooting – M: 21-52 (3-pt: 5-15); IM: 11-51 (3-pt: 2-11). 3-pt FGs – M: Brow (2), Nyquist, Burnette, Grazulis; IM: Huotari, Jacobs. Rebounding – M: 41 (Pap 15); IM: 35 (Zambon 4, Huotari 4, Caudell 4, Merrill 4).