"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Saturday, January 07, 2006

MU falls to Cincinnati 70-66

The Golden Eagles had a chance to take a huge step in the Big East conference at 2-0 to start the season, but a second half rally by the Bearcats and their suffocating inside defense proved to be too much for MU. It was a tale of two halves.

MU raced out of the gate in the first half much and continued their torrid shooting from Tuesday night's upset of UCONN. Dominic James scored 14 first half points to lead MU to a 46-36 lead much to the delight of the 15000 in attendance. James finished the game with 18 points, despite playing with the flu. The opening minutes of the second half James remained in the locker room hurling to the porcelain God while his teammates were on the floor.

The second half was a demonstration of interior defense. The Bearcats rejected one shot after another, finishing the game with a team record 18. Eric Hicks alone had 10 blocks. MU tried to not let their interior players intimidate their drives to the hoop, but the Bearcats managed to swat their shots time and time again without fouling Marquette.

Cincinnati took the lead for good at the 9:10 mark, 58-57 on a Hicks layup. MU kept it close the remainder of the game, but could not tie it. MU's best chance came with under 23 seconds to play. The score 69-66 when White of UC was fouled. White shoots better than 85% from the line, but managed to spin the first one out giving MU the chance to tie the game. Crean called a timeout to setup a 3 point play with Novak the first option and McNeal or James as off options. Novak inbounded the ball and received a return pass with Bearcats blanketing him all around the top of the key. Novak chose not to force the 3, instead reversing the ball back to an open Jerel McNeal with 10 seconds to play. His 3 point attempt was too hard off the back iron and the Bearcats rebounded. A quick MU foul and a Bearcat free throw iced the game for UC.

Novak finished with 17 points after his 41 point game on Tuesday. McNeal finished with 16 points. No other MU player was in double digits. Novak's free throw shooting streak also came to an end. Novak made his 68th in a row, but rimmed out his 69th. It was his first miss of the season.

MU drops to 1-1 in the Big East and now goes on the road for three straight conference games. UC improves to 2-0 in Big East play.

In other games today involving MU opponents this year. Nebraska defeated #14 Oklahoma and UCONN recovered to defeat LSU.

Link to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Story

Link to AP story

Link to Box Score from ESPN

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