"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

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Real Senior Night – Lazar, Mo and Coobie all hit double figures on 9 of 13 treys

The three seniors were unbelievable today, willing the Road Warriors to their 6th straight road victory, all by 3 points or less, heading into tomorrow’s quarterfinal game against a Villanova team that has beaten MU three straight times by two points or less.

As great as the seniors' speeches were after the Notre Dame game, on the court this was the truly great senior night. Lazar Hayward, David Cubillan and Mo Acker combined to score 41 of MUs 57 points, had 9 of the 13 assists and all 5 steals, with Lazar’s third and final steal sealing a 57-55 win in the closing minutes.

St. John’s, playing on their home floor after a 22-point drubbing of UConn, led 53-52 with just over a minute left before the key exchange of the game.

Moments after Coobie and Lazar argued during a timeout, Lazar set a perfect pick to give Coobie room to drain a three to give MU a 55-53 lead with 1:15 to play. With 38 seconds to go, 6-foot-6 D.J. Kennedy, one of the best at drawing fouls and dishing assists in the country, drove to the basket and Lazar stripped the ball from him. Lazar then hit two foul shots made it 57-53, and MU held on.

Those heroics would not have been possible without Acker, who twice plugged the sinking ship after MU had to call a timeout with 7:07 and St. John’s up 46-42 after a 20-8 roll.

Out of the timeout, Acker drained a three to make it 46-45, and then gave MU the lead with four minutes left when he drove to a few feet from the basket. Mo appeared to circle back to dump a pass out to the arc, but suddenly doubled back and put a high, soft bank shot over a leaping 6-7 Justin Brownlee to make it 52-50 Marquette.

The seniors' 9 of 13 from behind the arc led an 10 of 18 performance for a team that had fallen from 1st to 10th in the nation in 3-point accuracy in the previous month.

The heroics overcame weaknesses MU cannot repeat tomorrow at 1 p.m. CST against NOVA, including; 1) MU uncharacteristically losing the turnover battle 12-9, 2) Jimmy Butler sitting out the last 18 minutes of the first half with two fouls, and 3) only grabbing two offensive rebounds on their 24 missed shots.

In another indication of why Lazar is the Big East’s Most VALUABLE Player, he was the top rebounder in the game with 9 boards. Without those boards, MU lost the rebounding battle 32-14.

After all of the close losses last year and early this year, MU could improve their mark in close games to 8-8 if they pull off another nail biter against Villanova tomorrow, which has won the last three matchups 76-75, 74-72, 78-76. I took special note of several comments by the TV commentators:
1. Marquette is one of only seven teams in the country yet to lose by double digits (a fact I have been pushing for more than a month),
2. The fact that MU had lost their 7 Big East games by a TOTAL of 21 points was amazing when you consider that UConn lost by 22 points IN ONE GAME against St. John’s the day before,
3. Lazar Hayward was only selected to the Big East 2nd team even though, “some people thought he was the Player of the Year” in the Big East.

Back-to-back nights can be tough on shooters, but if the 3-point shot is back MU is a scary team for Villanova and heading into the NCAA.


Smoove said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Smoove said...

It was the same two programs that met in 1970 in the NIT Championship Game, with the Warriors winning out over the Redmen. Forty years later, the Golden Eagles soar above the Red Storm, in pursuit of another championship.

EastCoastMidwesterner said...

ugh... what is going on?

4:09 Villanova - Antonio Pena hits a free throw
4:09 Villanova - Antonio Pena hits a free throw
4:09 Marquette - Personal foul on Joseph Fulce
4:31 Villanova - Corey Fisher hits a free throw
4:31 Villanova - Corey Fisher hits a free throw
4:31 Marquette - Personal foul on Dwight Buycks
4:38 Villanova - Scottie Reynolds makes a 7-foot jumper