"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 28, 2006

MU suffers loss and injuries at hands of Panthers

Marquette suffered not only a loss at #10 Pittsburgh on Saturday in the Win and Loss column, but was hurt in the injury category as well. Star freshman guard Dominic James was hurt at the 13 minute mark of the second half with MU still leading. After stealing an outlet pass, he ran into a Pitt defender and clutched his shoulder immediately. To make matters worse, he was pushed in the back by a second Pitt defender causing him to tumble into the table by the baseline of the court. James was taken to the locker room but with his departure, the Panthers took their first lead of the game only a minute later.

James managed to come back into the game with 3 minutes to play, but was clearly in pain as his right arm was limp for the remainder of the game. He dribbled almost exclusively with his left arm and managed to take another violent hit on a blocking call under the basket. Somehow James was able to hit a 3 pointer and a 2 pointer in the final minute, but his status is unknown for the MU's next game on Feb. 1st against St. John's. An x-ray was to be taken today.

To add to the injury bug, Jerel McNeal was also injured as he got tangled up with a Pitt defender with 2 minutes to play. It appeared McNeal hurt his calf or ankle. He did not play the final two minutes and no word on his status was available.

For the game, MU came out on fire and led by as many as 12 points in the first half. Ryan Amoroso hit two three pointers while Novak, Barro and James all contributed with balanced scoring in the half. MU led 40-33 but got killed on the boards.

The second half Pitt closed the gap to 3 on several occasions but MU kept the lead until the 13 minute mark. That is when James was hurt after stealing the ball. The entire complexion of the game changed at that moment. MU went nearly 4 minutes without making a basket while Pitt went on an 8-0 run to grab the lead.

To the Golden Eagles credit, despite being down and the Pitt faithful in a full lather, MU fought back. A Jerel McNeal lay-up put MU back up top 56-54 with 8:01 to play. Two minutes later Joe Chapman's field goal gave the Eagles a 58-56 lead, the last lead MU would have in the game. The Panthers went on a 10-0 run and led 66-58 with 2:33 left when an Amoroso free throw finally stopped the bleeding.

MU had other opportunities in the final stretch, including 4 straight missed free throws by McNeal and two more misses by Amoroso. The Golden Eagles were dominated on the boards 45-29 and shot a woeful 5-12 from the line.

The final score was #10 Pitt 77, MU 71. Pitt was favored by 11 and MU gave them a huge scare, but this game becomes one of those "what could have been" if James had remained on the court. With him playing MU led the all 27 min to start the game.

Steve Novak finished with only 8 points, his second straight game below double digits. He has to be more selfish and take more shots, finishing with only 9 attempts today. MU has a chance at redemption in a few weeks when Pitt comes to the Bradley Center. I'd expect a very physical game and some payback in that contest. Some of today's fouls were rougher than MU is used to. We won't say dirty, just very physical.

Rosiak says James has sprained shoulder. Outlook uncertain

Box Score from ESPN

Associated Press Recap

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did anyone hear the Pitt, post-game Crean interview on WISN? All i hear was a bunch of lousy commercials, but then again, i listened to it through the internet.