Without a doubt, this game was a tale of two halves.
The Marquette cagers had a 2nd half they soon will want to forget. Fortunately, MU's first half was so dominant that the Golden Eagles were able to drive out of Chicago with a big road win against the DePaul Blue Demons, 82-79.
Playing without super freshman Wilson Chandler, who was suspended for violating team policy, DePaul started slowly and was steamrolled by Marquette in the first half, 49-30. At one point in the first half, MU handed out 12 assists with just three turnovers as they built a 24 point lead late in the first half before the Blue Demons began to chip away. Dominic James led MU with 17 first half points to go along with three steals and three assists. Steve Novak poured in 15 points on 5 of 7 shooting from behind the arc.
Marquette seemed to lose defensive focus in the second half and got killed on the boards and with missed free throws. DePaul 'won' the second half 49-33, and Marquette ended the game with 15 assists and 17 turnovers. Ouch.
Marquette highlights included 29 points from freshman superstar Dominic James, and 24 from sharpshooting senior, Steve Novak. It was Novak's two free throws with 14.6 seconds to play that extended the MU lead back to four, 80-76, following a pair of Draelon Burns free throws. Jamil Lott, who was five for six from the charity stripe tonight, sank a pair of freebies with 9.5 seconds to go to seal the victory.
Even though the Marquette team will want to forget this second half, Coach Crean will not let them do so. MU fans can only hope that the 2nd half weaknesses are ironed out in practice this week.
The bottom line, though, is that a BIG EAST road win is BIG, no matter how it is accomplished, and Marquette now goes back to Milwaukee at 13-5 overall and 3-2 in conference, with a big game against Notre Dame on Friday night at the Bradley Center.
Here is the AP recap of the game.
The Chicago Tribune recaps the game here. And Lew Freedman compares Dominic James to current NFL great, Steve Smith.
Dominic James played fast and furious Tuesday night, but DePaul could not cover Marquette's freshman point guard any better than the Bears shadowed the Carolina Panthers' Steve Smith on Sunday.No surprise, the result was the same for the Blue Demons in basketball as it was for the Bears in football.