"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

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Marquette beats #6 Pitt 77-74 in Overtime

Great game and a great effort by Tom Crean's club today. In front of a national audience on CBS, Marquette went into Pitt and defeated the #6 ranked team 77-74 to give the Panthers their first Big East loss and move MU in a tie for second place. Pitt has one of the best home court advantages in the country so this win is even more spectacular when you consider they had only lost 5 Big East games there ever.

MU was paced by Dominic James' 23 points including 14 in the first half. After trailing 10-9 in the opening session, MU controlled the remainder of the half and led 32-27 at the break. The second half was much the same as MU led by as many as 11 points. Pitt fought back to cut the lead to one at 50-49 before MU pulled away again. With about 4:03 remaining in the game, Dan Fitgerald hit a three pointer from the corner that seemed to put the game away 60-51. Not so fast my friend. MU would not score a FG the remainder of the way as the Panthers chipped away.

With 12 seconds left, Wes Matthews made two free throws to put MU up 64-61. Pitt brought the ball down and Jerel McNeal fouled before Pitt could take a three pointer. McNeal fouled out on the play. Pitt made the first free throw but missed the second. In a clear over the back non-call, Pitt volleyballed the ball away and managed to get it to the top of the key where Ramon was fouled in an attempt to tie the game. The non-call was incredible and Tom Crean was clearly upset. Ramon calmly made both free throws to tie the game. MU inbounded the ball to James who took it solo to the Pitt 3 point line and missed off the back of the iron. OVERTIME and all the momentum on Pitt's side.

Pitt opened OT by taking the lead 65-64 on a Gray free throw...Pitt's first lead since they led 10-9. The Panthers expanded their lead to three points only to have MU answer back on a three by Dan Fitzgerald at 67-67. The teams were tied at 69 until Ramon hit a three pointer with 2:51 remaining in the OT.

It then became the MU free throw shooting stars. That's right, MU who came into the game shooting 296th in the NCAA in free throws managed to hit 15 straight free throws, most of them in the closing seconds and in OT. Wes Matthews was fouled twice going to the hoop and made 4 straight to give MU a 73-72 lead with 1:51 left. Levon Kendall returned the favor by hitting two at 1:35 to put Pitt back on top. After a DJ missed three pointer, MU's defense would come up big. With under :25 to play, Marquette stole the ball and called timeout with :12 remaining.

Crean diagramed a play for MU that ultimately led to DJ getting the ball and going in amongst the trees on the left elbow. This time the refs didn't swallow their whistles. They called a foul with 0.9 seconds left and MU trailing by one. DJ goes to the line and nails both to put the Golden Eagles up by 1 point.

Without a timeout, Pitt attempts a full court pass which is intercepted by Matthews and fouled immediately. Wes nails both and MU grabs their 4th straight Big East win and third straight on the road. MU moves to 17-4 on the season and 4-2 in Big East play.

Todd Rosiak's story from the MJS

AP Story

Box Score

Post game interviews recapped here on MUScoop.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on MU's victory.

The Pittsburgh Union-Tribune recaps the game.


Gene Frenkle said...

Absolutely unbelievable. Thought there was NO way MU would win once it go to O.T. They didn't deserve to win at that point.

Four straight possessions will stick out in my mind...and it's the four w/3:30 left that let Pitt back in it. James poor three with wayyy too much time left on the shot clock, followed by three consecutive turnovers was just atrocious. You can't do that and expect to win on the road....yet they did.

I can't say as a fan I won't take it. Great effort on the guys part to hang in there, especially w/out McNeal and Fitz from an offensive standpoint.

Now...if someone can just teach Dan how to get a body on someone when you are up by 2 w/10 seconds left and the opposition is at the free throw line. That was 3rd grade-ish. It was too bad because Dan was a huge, huge part of the win w/his clutch threes, yet I'll remember that last breakdown. At least there's always room for improvement.

Phenominal run for MU and they should get a hell of an ovation when they get back to the BC this week.

Gene Frenkle said...

One more thing....

Is there ANYONE out there who enjoys games broadcast by Billy Packer???!!!!


Gene Frenkle said...

Now that were an hour since the game ended...I can say, with no negativity...Phenominal win for the program and for the season. Let's hope it continues. Mistakes were made at the end, but the tough teams forge ahead and get the win and MU did today. Unreal.

Anonymous said...

hey Gene.......looks like MU had more cowbell than the Pitt tonight!

rugbydrummer said...

as for that phenomenal broadcaster . . .

Who's Ousmane BARRIO????

otherwise... this game was awesome :)

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MUWarrior93 said...

We won down the stretch hitting FREETHROWS?? Is this the same team? How awesome. Great win. We are getting better all the time!

Anonymous said...

What a great road victory for Marquette! I was sad I missed it because the game was at the same time as the Bears vs. the Saints. Great day for a Marquette and Bear's fan!