"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

Monday, November 13, 2006

Marquette wins in Overtime...that's right...OVERTIME

A performance that reeked of a stench that could not be found since watching Ric Cobb's UWM Panthers, Tom Crean's squad nearly shot their way out of the CBE Classic on opening night. MU somehow hung on to win 59-56 over lowly Idaho State despite shooting 29.7% from the floor and 51.6% from the line (16-31). Amazingly, MU hauled in 21 offensive rebounds and forced 24 turnovers yet still nearly lost the game on its home court.

What is most troubling is that the many of the same difficulties MU had with Hillsdale played out again in this clunker against Idaho State. A pattern is developing, and that pattern is ugly early on. This team cannot shoot from the field or the chartity stripe --- it misses Steve Novak dearly right now.

At this early juncture nobody has filled the void for MU, not even the so-called Triple Threat. In tonight's victory McNeal, Matthews and James shot a combined 13-43 from the field which included an anemic 4-19 from beyond the arc. The trio also struggled from the free throw line, making only 7 of 17 attempts.

To suggest this team is worthy of a top 20 ranking flies in the face of reality. That being said, this squad is led by three sophomores, has a handful of new contributors and is very young....and it shows more than anybody expected. Still, there's something to be said for gutting out a win under these circumstances.

In tonight's game, MU jumped out to an early lead and appeared on their way to an easy victory. That is until Idaho State decided to play zone, testing the Golden Eagles' outside shooting. To put it mildly, the zone worked and based on the results, MU will see zone the rest of the season. Idaho State clawed back to tie the game at halftime, 28-28.

In the second half the Bengals led much of the way with MU trailing by as many as eight points at one juncture, 40-32. Tom Crean finally went to a pressing defense which put the Bengals on their heels and allowed to tie the game at 40-40.

Marquette had a chance to win in regulation trailing 53-52 when Jerel McNeal was fouled with 3.5 seconds left in the contest. He was also cut on the play and had to be removed from the game due to blood on his jersey. Dan Fitzgerald, enter stage left. Fitzgerald missed the first but nailed the second freebie to send the game into overtime.

In the OT period both teams couldn't buy a basket other than a Dominic James three-pointer to start the extra period. A Bengals three-pointer tied the game until Ousmane Barro was fouled with 30 seconds to play. Barro, an unlikely candidate, actually made both free throw attempts....a chore that apparently was next to impossible for his teammates this evening. Barro also corraled 10 rebounds for the Golden Eagles in 31 minutes of foul trouble-free action.

Despite struggling mightily in back to back outings, MU is now 2-0 on the season. No blood drawn, but the gauntlet is just beginning.

MU will play Detroit tomorrow night for the right to advance to the CBE Final Four in Kansas City. Detroit defeated Maine tonight 57-50. Former Golden Eagle Brandon Bell will suit up for the Titans, the first time he's faced his former team and coach.

We will link stories to this article as they become available later tonight. Time to exhale, have a beer or kick your dog....whichever you prefer.

Media Recap Updated

Here's the updated AP story which includes a few player quotes.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has these observations

Here is the box score. Read it at your own peril.

Zoning Up Marquette article on Scout.com

GoMarquette.com reports on the game as well.

Mike Bennett of the Palladium-Item recaps the tilt this morning.


The win against Idaho State was our 1350th all-time.

Marquette will play Detroit tonight for the 88th time. Marquette holds a 60-27 lead over them in the series.

The only schools MU has played more than Detroit have been DePaul, Notre Dame and Wisconsin.

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