Saturday, January 1, 2011
Recap: Marquette 79 - West Virginia 74
In Saturday’s New Year’s Day tip-off, which marks Marquette’s sixth year in the Big East Conference, the Golden Eagles defeated West Virginia by a score of 79-74 in front of 15,575 energetic fans at The Bradley Center.
The Golden Eagles had no trouble adjusting to the unusual ten a.m. start time and jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead and didn’t allow the West Virginia Mountaineers to get their first basket until nearly four minutes into the game. During that early stretch, Marquette had a 10-0 fast break advantage thanks to four steals. The Golden Eagles ended the game with eight steals as both teams played very physical and had to earn every basket on each possession.
West Virginia’s physicality and their ability to alter shots on defense kept them in the game and frustrated Marquette as the Golden Eagles were having trouble finishing the ball in the paint which prevented them from extending their lead early. West Virginia also switched to a 2-3 zone midway through the first half and at various other times throughout the game, which helped the Mountaineers crawl their way back into the game. Marquette has seen the 2-3 zone often this season and hopes to improve at breaking it by knocking down jump shots or with quick passing leading to easy baskets.
Leading 37-34 coming out of halftime, West Virginia tied the game at the 17-minute mark and later took a brief four point lead with 11 minutes remaining. It was an afternoon of career highs offensively for both Marquette and West Virginia. Junior guard Darryl Bryant had a career high 25 points, however was uplifted by the performance of last year’s junior college player of the year, Jae Crowder. Crowder continued his scoring rampage as of late and recorded 29 points on Saturday in the winning effort. Crowder nearly did everything for Marquette down the stretch, but Darius Johnson-Odom broke out of his shooting slump and tallied 21 points including a momentum boost that propelled the Golden Eagles to the finish line. Center Chris Otule got his first and only two points in the game via a put-back slam dunk with 1:14 remaining followed by Jae Crowder jumping an arrant pass as well as knocking down free throws in the closing seconds to seal the 79-74 win for Marquette.
January 5, 2011 @ Rutgers Scarlet Knights - 6:30 p.m.