Lazar Hayward scored a career-high 23 points to go with 8 rebounds and Wesley Matthews added 16 as the Marquette Golden Eagles topped the South Florida Bulls 62-54. Marquette (15-4, 5-3) appeared flat all night, and was tied with just five minutes remaining before Matthews connected on three 3-pointers late to rally the Golden Eagles to victory.
Once again MU was outrebounded. Once again MU started slowly. Once again MU shot poorly. Once again MU's offense relied far too much on isolation plays which put little pressure on the defense. The results? It took MU nearly 12 minutes to reach double figures in the first half. Asked at halftime about the slow start, Crean responded "we're not good enough starting games. We'll get that addressed another day." That day cannot come soon enough since halftime adjustments didn't take hold..........it took MU 15 minutes to score 10 points in the 2nd half.
Another serious problem tonight was Marquette's free throw shooting, which clocked in at a miserable 58% (18-31).
Dominic James was benched for much of the game, and Coach Crean was obtuse during the post-game interview on why DJ was out. James ended up with a career-low 3 points in 11 minutes, shooting 1 for 7, and 1 for 6 from the charity stripe. His running mate Jerel McNeal was also unimpressive. McNeal finished with 6 points on 2-9 shooting, forcing shots and turning the ball over three times.
On the blocks, Marquette was manhandled by USF's Kentrell Gransberry who finished with 15 and 15 before fouling out on a questionable call late in the game. MU had no answer for Gransberry, who just didn't have enough help to help the Bulls break through for a Big East road win.
On to Cincy.
- AP Recap / Box Score / Play by Play
- Rosiak recaps the MU win
- Chris Jenkins of the AP on the game
- Tampa Tribune on the 'inspired' USF effort
- St Pete Times on the USF loss
- Rosiak's wrap-up blog on the MU win including TC's thoughts on DJ's benching:
"I'm focused on what it takes to win that game, and playing momentum. Sometimes it's just not people's nights, you know? And when you don't have depth there's not a lot you can do about it. When you do, you do something. I thought he did a nice job defensively. But I'm not really worried about all that. We needed to win the game. That's the focus."