"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, March 15, 2008

Panthers ground Golden Eagles in Big East Semis

Marquette's bid to reach its first Big East Tournament final fell short last night with a 68-61 loss to the Pittsburgh Panthers in Madison Square Garden.

Pittsburgh was led by the steady, productive Sam Young. Young, the best player in the BET this year, dominated the Golden Eagles on his way to 22 points and four rebounds in 39 minutes of action. Young was an impossible matchup for Marquette -- too big for Jerel McNeal, too quick for Dwight Burke.

The Panthers, who never trailed, raced out to a 16-4 lead early and held MU comfortably at bay for most of the night. The Golden Eagles closed to within three points in the game's final minute but the Panthers, who shot an impressive 49% from the field, always had an answer.

Meanwhile the MU offense struggled all night. The Golden Eagles shot a miserable 31% from the field and lost the turnover battle (16-11). MU out-rebounded the Panthers 41-30.

Marquette was led once more by Jerel McNeal with 17 points. Wesley Matthews and Lazar Hayward each chipped in 10 points, while Dominic James finished with eight. Dwight Burke played well off the bench again last night, grabbing a team-high ten rebounds to go along with four points.

Emotions ran high for Marquette in the second half, and lead official Tim Higgins threw gasoline on the fire (did he or didn't he try to eject Jerel McNeal -- the subject of a pair of lousy calls by the silver-haired court master). The predictably thin-skinned Higgins clearly came unglued in the midst of an emotional game and delivered an embarrassing effort on national television, which is nothing new. Rosiak details all of this in his entry linked below.

Regardless, in the end the Panthers were the better team on Friday night and Sam Young was the best player on the floor.

Next up for MU (24-9) is Selection Sunday where the Golden Eagles hope to claim a #4 seed. The Bracket Project has MU slotted as a 6.

AP recap
Box Score
Rosiak's recap
Rosiak's outstanding blog recap

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tough loss, but I feel good about where MU is at right now going into the Tourney. Clearly they are a streaky team, but last night they showed toughness in the second half.

Rosiak's blog is great. He points out two things...1 Higgins should be fired...2 Crean is right on top of the weaknesses in the team. Its nice to hear him say that James needs to drive and attack more. If he does that, we win. If he doesn;t, we usually lose.

Anonymous said...

I think this quote from Matthews in Rosiak's recap says it all: "I think once we figure out how to play with that edge the whole time, the sky's the limit." When MU plays like that they're elite (think Nova, end of game at ND, Wisconsin, etc) but when we don't we are an ugly, miserable team (any Louisville game comes to mind). I just hope these guys realize to play like this for all 40 minutes next week. Even if the shots aren't falling, if we play with that edge, attacking the boards and playing aggressive D, we can make it to the second weekend. Keep your fingers crossed!

Anonymous said...

Tough loss: Pitt's playing very well.

A big concern however: has Cubillan had a good game since the home game against ND? It seems like the last 10 games or so he is really lost.

Jack 82

Joe Mc. said...

4 Seed? Are you crazy?

Marquette will be lucky to get a 5. I think realistically, this team is a weak 5/strong 6 right now.

Anonymous said...

Would someone please tell me what and why Crean is constantly shouting to the team?? Are these plays or what? Indirectly I'm asking if he is "on top of the team's weaknesses" what is he doing about it?

Anonymous said...

Dominic has to penetrate and be involved early in the game. When his shot is not falling(95% of the time) Crean should try to get him going with screens at the top of the circle or isolations on the wing. Also, our guards were getting beat all night on drives which is inexcusable with their quickness. There was no adjustment to the officiation last night which by way was atrocious. I liked the intensity of this team in the 2nd half and this loss could help us in the tourney. Dominic is the key, he can't launch jumper after jumper and clearly we have to value the basketball more. Way too many unforced TO's. A Sweet 16 is possible but a 2nd round exit is more likely.

Anonymous said...

Lets see where we are seeded, opponents. Go Marquette!

Anonymous said...

The key going into tournament is not letting Blackledge on the floor, my Lord he is awful!!

Anonymous said...

All things considered I think Trevor has a definite role and does a good job.

Before you knock the players consider who recruited them and coaches them.

Offering an "olive branches" to those who fall off the NBA wagon and college coaches who don't know right from wrong is questionable (financially they are set) and I'm not impressed with this buddy buddy stuff unless your coaching results in improved player development. Yeah it's like hiring members of the coaches family.

Anonymous said...

Trevor's role should be on the bench. There is no use to him getting fouled on the offensive end, his free throw shooting is an absolute joke. Not sure how or why he got a scholarship.

Gene Frenkle said...

Wow. Questioning Mbakwe already? Please.

Tough, tough loss. Terrible officiating, but when you go basket-less for 10 minutes, odds are you won't win.

I see a five-seed coming this afternoon. Go MU.

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean Trevor, I mean Lawrence