"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, February 25, 2006

First Time Ever: Marquette sweeps ND and DePaul

The knock on MU this season in Big East play has been that they have been unable to close out big games. Not any more. After losing 2nd half leads to the likes of Cincy, Pittsburgh and Villanova earlier this season, MU made a strong statement over the last eight minutes against Notre Dame to win the game 80-72 in South Bend. MU finshed the game strong, overcomming a late five point deficit and a poor shooting night from Steve Novak to outscore the Irish 29 to 16 down the stretch.

The game marks Notre Dame’s worst loss since a November 28 contest against NC State, and is the first time in MU history that they have swept both DePaul and Notre Dame in the same season. MU had not swept ND since the 1938-39 season.

MU looked to be running the Irish out of their own house earlier in the game, twice making a big runs to take a 7 point lead and looking like they were going to take control of the game. Each time, Notre Dame responded, largely on the 3 point shooting of Russell Carter, eventually taking a 5 point lead with 7:48 to go.

With things looking tight for MU, a flurry of threes of their own (1 from Chapman, 1 from Fitzgerald and 2 from Novak) put MU on top for good. A Chris Grimm stuff capped the excitement before the game turned to a free-throw shooting contest.

Colin Falls and Chris Quinn were limited to just 4 of 21 from the floor.

Novak on 6 for 6 free throw shooting, led MU with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

The win keeps MU in play for the final 4th place bye with Georgetown, Pittsburgh and West Virginia.

Tom Crean’s post-game comments:
-- Wanted to make history – made the fact that MU never swept both DePaul and ND the focus of the week after learning the MU has never swept both ND and DePaul
-- Wanted to pressure Quinn and Falls
-- Having Wes Matthews back helped on the defensive pressure.
-- Novak did a great job late.
-- “How about Chris Grimm’s dunk”
-- Assistant Coaches have done a great job scouting
-- Challenged Ooze to be an impact player on the road—stepped up for us.
-- Got good contribution from Ryan Amoroso and Dwight Burke
-- Didn’t worry when ND was making their run—a couple of slight defensive adjustments at the next TV timeout. On the road, want to let the team play through it.
-- 35 minutes and no turnovers, a couple of blocked shots. Steve Novak becoming a complete player.
-- Team effort—great crowd from Milwaukee and Chicago that made the trip.
-- Great rivalry.
-- Got momentum through execution tonight.

GAME RECAPS
Chicago Tribune Recap (subscription required - free)

Journal Sentinel Recap

ESPN/AP Recap

GoMarquette.com recap

BOXSCORE

Palladium-Item (IN) recap

The Elkhart (IN) Truth recap

1 comment:

Tim DeRoche said...

woo-hoo! wish i'd been able to see the game. gotta keep finishing off these types of opponents...not just beating the ranked teams.