"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

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Time to exhale: Marquette advances in the NCAA Tournament

Marquette fought off Kentucky in the final minutes to notch their first NCAA tournament victory in the post-Wade era, winning by a final score of 74-66. With the victory Marquette advances to play the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday in Anaheim.

Jerel McNeal hit for 20 points (8-15 shooting), and Lazar Hayward netted 16 points (7 -11 shooting). Dominic James added 15 points and three assists (and zero turnovers in 29 minutes). Marquette shot 44% for the game.

Marquette led by as many as 11 in the second half, but Wildcat Joe Crawford had the game of his life, hitting 35 points, keeping UK in the game longer than expected.

With just about five minutes remaining, the Wildcats cut the lead to just three at 56-53 when Dominic James delivered in the game's key sequence. Following an offensive rebound by Dan Fitzgerald, James drilled an open three-pointer with 4:23 remaining to boost the MU lead to 59-53. After a UK miss, James took advantage of Ramel Bradley's tentative defensive play with four fouls to drive past the UK guard for the layup, stretching the Marquette lead to 61-53 with 3:14 to play.

Wesley Matthews sealed the win by sinking eight consecutive free throws in the last 30 seconds of the game. Matthews finished with 13 points. Overall, MU was an impressive 23-29 from the charity stripe on the afternoon.

Note to teams playing at the Honda Center, the games are being played under "West Coast Rules" whereby intentional fouls don't exist. Twice in the last minute, UK purposely fouled Dwight Burke, the worst FT shooter on the court, far far away from the ball. Twice, the refs applied West Coast Rules and neglected to call an intentional. Oh, well.

Tipoff for the MU-Stanford game is TBD -- either 5pm or 8pm.

This day has been a long time coming, and I've been dreading it all season. Lose, and we're one and done once again. Win, and we've got the monkey off our backs. I hardly slept last night, but I woke up believing this was our day.

I admit, it was very odd seeing Marquette's name on a bracket line to the right. LET'S GO WARRIORS!

AP Wrap / Official Box

Marquette Press Conference:


Anonymous said...

They took care of business, and now the Cardinal of Stanford in our sites. I've said it all year: McNeil is the man on this team, and he can elevate us to the next level.

Matthews struggled AGAIN, but no question, when the game is on the line, I want HIM on the line.

Jack 82

Anonymous said...

I agree but spelling his name right would give you move street cred.


Anonymous said...

Props to MU for winning their 1st NCAA tourney game in 5 yrs. However, they beat a team that clearly had no business being in the tournament. Kentucky's resume is/was pitiful with 1 quality win which was Vandy at home. Now onto Stanford. The good news is we have nothing to lose. The bad news is Lopez and Lopez. MU has the ability to beat this team, but will have to shoot well from 3 and stay out of foul trouble. Burke and Barro have to stay on the floor. Crean will have to use Trend and Mbakwe on Saturday. Dominic, Jarel, and Wes have to drive, drive, and drive. Try somehow to get Stanford's bigs to commit fouls. Jarel also has to be everywhere on defense. Stanford doesn't turn the ball over, but MU's quickness will get them good shots on most possessions. I don't expect very much on the offensive glass so clearly we're going to have to knock down shots, make layups, and get to the line. I thought Dominic's 3 and layup at the end of today's game were huge. If 3 of our 4 perimiter players play well offensively(have to shoot over45&% and hit 3's) we have a decent shot of winning. That really hasn't happened all season but I have a funny feeling they will play relaxed and knock down shots. The presure is off, we have the talent, let's get it done Warriors.

Anonymous said...

Go blow. We did just fine.

Anonymous said...

What was the deal with the floor - why did McNeal and other guys keep slipping? Is that a hockey arena with ice under it?

Should we expect this in the next round?

We rule over UK!!!

Anonymous said...

From being at the game, three was definitely a floor issue of some kind. Every break the refs had towels and mops all over the court, pointing out spots all over even - rarely with anyone haven fallen down. I couldn't tell how much of Jerel falling was his ankle hurting and how much was slick floor. As for blowing off KY as inferior - they were an 11 seed as a 12-4 team in the SEC - meaning Villanova and others were behind them. To overcome a team with a guy who missed the all-time first round record by 3 points, throwing up Hail Mary's that were going in even when we played great defense on them. At this level, get out of the gym with a win. They played great, and we need to harrass Stanford's guards to get through another day.


Gene Frenkle said...

It's not about questioning who you beat, it's about beating. MU took care of business today. You could have argued about MSU last year in the first round that they were inferior and we lost.

Solid performance by Wes to nail down the game. Didn't understand the lack of intentional fouls called. That was ridiculous. At least Dwight hit one.

Go MU. Let's take down the Cardinal.

Anonymous said...

Caw Caw.

Anonymous said...

One quality win all year? Didn't Kentucky beat Tennessee who was ranked #1 just a few weeks ago?

So many stupid people, including the idiot that made the comment about Kentucky not belonging in the tournament.

The NCAA committee put them in, sorry you're invitation to the committee board room to make that decision was lost in the mail.

Anonymous said...

Can't we all just get along?! I've been on Crean's case all year but I'm thrilled with yesterday's win and am hoping for the best tomorrow!!