Marquette came to Indiana for their first true road game against a talented Crusader squad ready to pounce on the #8 team in the nation. The game began with MU dominating the open minutes as they raced out to a 26-11 lead largely on the scoring of Jerel McNeal, the Ooze and Wes Matthews. Homer Drew's club put on a late run of 13-5 to close the half and trail only 31-24. Dominic James had only 2 points in the first 20 minutes.
The second half was a red hot affair for Valparaiso as they shot over 60% and made 8 of 10 3-pointers to grab the lead from MU 44-40. Dominic James then decided to make his trip back to the home state a memorable one. He almost single handedly lifted MU on his shoulders and carried them to victory by scoring 15 of his 22 points in the last 6:23 of the game. Despite dreadful shooting from behind the arc, his outside shots and free throws at the end were the key. James finished 11 of 13 from the free throw line, a place he has struggled from this season.
Trailing 44-40, MU went on a 9-0 run to retake the lead at 49-44. The Crusaders would not fold and hit a 3 to cut it to 49-47. A James 3 pointer made it 52-47 only to have Valpo score on two straight possessions to tie the game at 52. Valpo would then take a lead again only to have James tie the game at the FT line.
In the final minute the two teams matched dramatic shot with dramatic shot. James hit a 3-pointer with 37 seconds left to go up 62-59. Valpo responded by nailing an improbable three with under 20 seconds to tie the game. MU took a timeout with 13.1 seconds to hold out for the final shot. MU was able to get James open for a three pointer which he nailed with 3 seconds left. Valpo took a final desperation 3 at the buzzer that was straight but hit off the rim as MU escaped with the 65-62 victory. James finished with 22 points including the last 18 scored by Marquette.
MU moves to 7-0 on the season while Valpo drops to 3-2 and now must face two more ranked teams this week with games Butler and at #1 Ohio State.
One thing is for certain, when MU is not shooting well from the outside they are vulnerable. Relying on Dominic James for such an unbalanced attack could prove problematic for MU down the road. Tonight James bailed them out despite a poor first half. In games in the future MU will need a more balanced attack, especially from their bench. MU had only 12 points from the bench tonight.
Ousmane Barro continued his effective play with a double-double, 10 points and 13 rebounds. The 6'10" junior has more than doubled his rebounds per game average from a year ago, and is playing twice as many minutes per game as he played last season.
Here's an informative thread on MUScoop that includes a first-hand account of the game.
The Northwest Indiana News on 'Everbody's All-American'
Mike Bennett's article in the Palladium-Item
Todd Rosiak's MJS Story
Go Marquette Story
Monday, November 27, 2006
Written by muwarrior92 at 9:03 PM