Thursday, January 29, 2009

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Strong Second Half Propels Women to a Win at Georgetown


WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Marquette women's basketball team overcame a 11-point half-time deficit to defeat Georgetown, 80-65, Wednesday evening at McDonough Arena. The Golden Eagles had a quartet of players in double figures, led by sophomore Angel Robinson with 19 points. With the win, the Golden Eagles improve to 12-8 overall, 3-2 in BIG EAST play.

Freshman Jessica Pachko poured in 16 points, while senior Erin Monfre contributed 12, and sophomore Tatiyiana McMorris added 13.

Marquette was feeling it from long range, especially in the second frame, as it connected on 6-of-7 attempts (85.7 percent) from beyond the arc. The Golden Eagles finished the game shooting a season-best 61.5 percent from 3-point land, aided by Monfre who who was a perfect 4-of-4 from three, all coming in the second half.

Jaleesa Butler led Georgetown with a game-high 27 points. For the game, the Hoyas shot 41.5 percent from the floor.

At half-time, the Hoyas held a 11-point advantage, 37-26. Jaleesa Butler paced GU with 15 points, while the team shot 48.3 percent from the floor (14-of-29).

The Golden Eagles staged its comeback early in the second half as Pachko sparked a 21-8 run that would help Marquette come within two points at 47-45 with 12:50 to play.

The Golden Eagles tied the game at the 11:22 mark in the second half thanks to a steal and quick lay-up from Tatiyiana McMorris. From there neither team held more than a three-point advantage until Marquette pulled away over the final six minutes.

The Golden Eagles took their largest lead of the game with 54 seconds to play following a lay-up by Pachko, and held the Hoyas to just four points over the final 5:21 of the game.

The Golden Eagles return to action Tuesday, Jan. 27 when they host Syracuse at the Al McGuire Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Greener Pastures

All MU Sports fans:

We're moving to a new domain name shortly. We'll be at www.mutvsports.com in less than a week; so if this starts to seem like it's not getting updated, it's probably because all the new (read: Good) stuff is going up on the new domain.

Stay tuned and I'll confirm when the new site is officially live.

Jonathan Ficke
Assistant Sports Director, MUTV

Monday, January 19, 2009

From Hunter, To Hunted

5-0…

Really digest that for a moment.

Jumpin’ Jesuits… WE’RE 5-0!!!

That’s about the reaction from almost every Marquette fan as they wake up on this holiday weekend. If you pick up a newspaper, and turn to the standings of the Big East Conference you cannot help but smile when you look to the top.

1. No. 11/10 Marquette 16-2 (5-0)

To put it plainly, this is awesome. But be wary Marquette Basketball fans, because in this conference, being the hunted is something new for this program. The history speaks for itself through the first five games of conference play.

2006: 3-2; 2007: 3-2; 2008: 3-2

Good, but certainly not great. Starts that are not going to make opposing teams and fans sweat over the upcoming Marquette game on their schedule. You get off to a 5-0 start though… Regardless of who you did it against, everyone is looking up at you.

Everyone.

If Buzz Williams and his players wake up today and notice a strange itch developing on their backs, it might be a big red bulls eye that grew overnight. And with every victory that bulls eye will get bigger.

Hey, you all wanted this. Now it’s time to put up or shut up. Two of the next three games are against ranked teams, with the always heated Notre Dame game taking place in South Bend. We’ll all find out just how good this team really is.

If this group gets to 6-0… 7-0… dare I say even 8-0 in conference play… with only four players scoring the basketball, Buzz Williams should get the Nobel Prize. Talk about getting the most out of your players. You could write a book on the things that this team lacks. And you could write another about overcoming adversity.

I’ve always used one main criterion to determine a great team from a good one: Even when you don’t play well, you are still able to find ways to win games. In the past three seasons, if the Golden Eagles didn’t show up at the start of a game, they were dead in the water. Let this past Saturday’s game against Providence show that this trend is beginning to be bucked.

The national media has begun to take notice. Alumni are tip toeing around their homes trying not to jinx anything. The student body is nearly in a frenzy. And all the while, Buzz Williams keeps his players focused on their school work, and the next game ahead. Even with some irritated powerhouses looking up at one of the Big East’s newbies, it’s hard for fans to say they’ve never felt more confident.

The foundation for a special season has been laid. Now let’s find out how high and fast they can build in the middle of a hurricane.
Brian Henry
Marquette University Radio Sports Director

Rutgers Puts Away Golden Eagles with Second Half Run, 73-56


PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Epiphanny Prince scored 23 points to help No. 23 Rutgers defeat Marquette 76-53 on Sunday.

Brittany Ray and Heather Zurich each had 13 points for Rutgers (10-5, 2-2 Big East).

The Scarlet Knights held Marquette without a field goal for nearly seven minutes in the second half and used a 16-0 run to pull away from a 40-36 advantage with 14:25 to play.

Rutgers hit four 3-pointers during the spurt, and made 6 of 13 from beyond the arc for the game.

Krystal Ellis scored 14 points for Marquette (11-7, 2-2).

Khadijah Rushdan added 12 points for Rutgers, which led from the opening tip and never let Marquette closer than four points in the final 25 minutes.

While the Scarlet Knights shot just 40 percent from the field, they held the Golden Eagles without an offensive rebound in the first half.

Rutgers has won two straight Big East games after dropping its first two league games for the first time since the 1995-96 season.

Associated Press

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Marquette Rallies to Beat PC, 91-82


PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Marquette coach Buzz Williams threatened to pull his players off the court when Jeff Xavier's brother came out of the stands to confront the referees after the Providence guard was knocked from the game with his eye swollen shut.

It was a good thing they stayed.

No. 14 Marquette rallied from a 13-point deficit in the second half and beat Providence 91-82 on Saturday night in a game interrupted when Jonathan Xavier came out of the stands to protest the non-call. Lawrence Lepore, the executive director of the Dunkin' Donuts Center, said Xavier was taken to the Providence police station and will be charged with disorderly conduct.

"I told the officials, 'We'll leave, because that's extremely dangerous,'" Williams said. "I saw the guy coming out of the stands. Forget the game; I'm going to protect the guys. I'm going to protect those guys no matter what."

Lazar Hayward scored 25 points, hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:10 left, and Jerel McNeal also scored 25 as Marquette (16-2, 5-0 Big East) extended the best start of its tenure in the Big East. The Golden Eagles last started 5-0 in the conference when they were a member of the Great Midwest in 1992-93.

Marshon Brooks scored 21 and Geoff McDermott had 15 points and 17 rebounds as Providence (11-6, 3-2) lost its second straight game to a ranked team, falling to Georgetown (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) last Saturday. The Friars played most of the second half without Jeff Xavier, who was scraped in the face when he drove to the basket with 17:13 left in the game.
Friars coach Keno Davis said Xavier's right eye was completely closed. "It looked like he had been in a fight," Davis said, adding that he didn't think it looked intentional.

No foul was called, but when the players were lined up for a free throw at the next whistle Jonathan Xavier came down from the stands and jumped over the Providence bench before going chest-to-chest with one of the referees. Security hustled him off, and he left without much of a fight, waiting peacefully under the stands with a guard while police were summoned.

"What you're hopeful when you see something like that is the players don't get hurt," Davis said. "Any time any fan or anyone takes the court, that's not where they're supposed to be. Whether it's a relative or not, we've got to make sure we keep the fans off the court."

McNeal said he didn't feel threatened by Xavier's brother.

"I just saw him come out onto the floor," he said. "And I thought about it and I was like, 'Man, I don't think he's supposed to be out here.'"

Providence spokesman Arthur Parks said Jeff Xavier was unavailable for comment. Big East spokesman John Paquette declined to comment.

McDermott's first basket of the second half gave him 1,000 points for his career -- the 40th player in school history and third on the team to reach the mark, with Xavier and Weyinmi Efejuku. But McDermott also missed six of nine free throws, and PC went 14-for-23 from the line.

"I can't talk about the free throws without saying, 'Hey, he gave us everything he had," Davis said. "How can you ask for anything more than that?"

McDermott scored eight points with 11 rebounds in the first half, helping Providence open a 28-17 lead with 8:39 left. But the Golden Eagles scored the next three baskets and trailed 45-40 at the break.

Providence opened a 59-46 advantage and still led by 12 with 13:11 left when Dominic James hit a 3-pointer and then stole the ball to set up Hayward's dunk that made it 63-56. Hayward hit another 3 to cut a five-point deficit to 74-72, then stole the ball to set up James' dunk for the basket that tied it 76-all.

It was tied at 79 when McNeal hit a 3, Brooks missed from beyond the arc and Matthews, who scored 22, hit a layup on the fast break to start a three-point play. McNeal hit three more free throws to make it a nine-point game, and Matthews' layup gave Marquette an 11-point lead.

Associated Press

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Marquette-Providence Preview

The Golden Eagles are on the road tonight for another Big East Conference matchup against the Friars of Providence (11-5, 3-1). Marquette (15-2, 4-0) goes into the contest tied atop the Big East Conference standings and ranked 14th nationally by the associated press and the coaches. The Friars are currently 6th in the conference and one game back behind Marquette and number one ranked Pittsburg (16-0, 4-0). The game is being broadcasted on ESPN2 at 8 pm CT.

Marquette is currently off to its best Big East start ever at 4-0. A victory tonight would match the Golden Eagles longest win streak at 8 games. After playing three of the team’s first four BIG EAST outings in Milwaukee, the Marquette will now hit the road for five of their next seven games, including a three-game road swing in early February.

Marquette will again rely on the contributions of their “big three” in tonight’s matchup. Senior guards Wesley Matthews, Jerel McNeil, and Dominic James are all averaging over 11 points per game, with Matthews’ 18.9 ppg ranking him 3rd in the conference. Coach Buzz Williams relied heavily on the play of his guards in last week’s victory over West Virginia. Both James and McNeil played all 40 minutes, combining for 43 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

The Golden Eagles with have to key on junior point guard Sharaud Curry, who is currently averaging 9.3 ppg and 4.6 assists. First year coach Keno Davis is also getting performance out of his bench this year. Superb sixth man, sophomore Marshon Brooks, is averaging near 13 points and 4 rebounds per contest.

Marquette claimed victory in last year’s matchup at the Bradley Center with a decisive 96-67 win.

John Forristal
MUTV Sports

Monday, January 12, 2009

Marquette 75 West Virginia 53

It was a rough beginning for the Marquette men’s Golden Eagles (18/15) in the match-up against the West Virginia Moutaineers (25/22). Marquette had only 2 points in the first 5 minutes of play. With over 11 minutes left in the first half, Marquette had gone just 3 for 17 from the field and 0 for 6 from beyond the arc. Their defensive play was not helping, as West Virginia was ahead of Marquette by 8 with a little under 7 minutes left in the half. Jerel McNeal led the team in points the first half with 11, while Wesley Matthews did not score at all. West Virginia’s only downfall the first half seemed to be fouling. De’Sean Butler committed 3 fouls in the first half. The score at half was 31-29 West Virginia, thanks to a 3 point shot made right before the buzzer.

Marquette would have to rally in the second half in order to match up against the taller WVU lineup. Fortunately for the Golden Eagles, their first half field goal shot percentage became the Mountaineers’, and the Mountaineers’ became Marquette’s: shooting 33.3 percent in the first half, Marquette shot 52 percent in the second, and outscored West Virginia 46-22. Jerel McNeal led the way with 26 points, with 15 coming in the second half. Dominic James followed McNeal with 17 total points. Wesley Matthews also contributed to Marquette’s big second half, scoring all 13 of his points after the break. Field goals in the second half were not the only aspect of the game that solidified Marquette’s win; they converted 24 of 27 free throws while only allowing their opponent 10 attempts from the line all morning. Again, they won Coach Williams's all-important free throws made to opponents' free throws attempted statistic. The Golden Eagles had a little help from West Virginia’s top scorer as well. Da’Sean Butler fouled out after scoring the team high 16 points. This 75-53 win over conference foe West Virginia leaves Marquette at 15-2, and 4-0 in Big East conference play. The Golden Eagles next game is Saturday the 17th on the road verse Providence at 8 PM.

Maria Sapienza and Kari Kaelin
MUTV Sports

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Marquette Squeaks Past Rutgers, 81-76

The Marquette Golden Eagles went to Piscataway, New Jersey with a five game winning streak including two huge Big East home wins against number thirteen-ranked Villanova and a very talented Cincinnati squad. In the Big East conference, every game in the conference is a tough game no matter what team you are playing. This showed tonight as the Golden Eagles played the Scarlet Knights.

The experienced lineup of the Golden Eagles proved a big factor against the Scarlet Knights in the first half as the Golden Eagles shot 54.8% from the field and forced the young Rutgers squad to 11 turnovers in the first half as Marquette took a 37-28 lead into the break.

Marquette jumped to an early lead 18-12 with 10:56 remaining in the half. Marquette senior Dwight Burke contributed with 6 points as the Golden Eagles capitalized on 9 Rutgers turnovers. Marquette then went on a 10-4 run with 8:22 in the half taking a commanding 30-18 lead. Wesley Matthews drove to the lane and converted on several layups as he had 7 points on the drive.

At the half, Marquette’s Wesley Matthews lead all scorers with 12 points going a perfect 5 for 5 in the field as well as hitting 2 of 3 at the free throw line. The freshman phenom for Rutgers Mike Rosario leading the team in scoring on the year had only 6 points in the half and shot 3-10 from the field and 0-6 from beyond the arc. It seemed as if the experience of Marquette was too much for this Rutgers team heading into the second half.

In the second half Marquette came out firing on all cylinders as the Golden Eagles went on an 18-4 run to take a 57-36 lead with 12:57 remaining. Dominic James had 7 points on the run making a couple of layups and a 3-point basket.

It looked to be like the game was over as Marquette and Coach Buzz Williams put in his bench players to get some playing time for his reserves and give his starters a breather. With the Marquette changes, Rutgers took advantage and responded with a 10-0 run of their own cutting the lead 57-46 with 9:02 remaining in the game.

Marquette then made some changes as they brought back in their starting lineup and jumped to a 15-point advantage 61-46 minutes later on baskets by Matthews and McNeal. The Scarlet Knights still did not give up as they went on a 15-5 run cutting the Marquette lead to 5, 66-61 with 4:39 to go in the game. During the run, Rutgers made three consecutive three pointers to put them back into the game.

Marquette would keep the lead steady after that point until Rutgers came down the court with less than a minute left and made two straight layups to cut the deficit to 73-71 with only 0:44 seconds remaining in the game. But that was the closest Rutgers would ever get, as Marquette would convert on all of their 8 free throw attempts to win the game 81-76.

Marquette shot 52.5% in the game and force 17 Rutgers turnovers in route to the win. Wesley Matthews lead all scorers with 23 points and shot a perfect 100%, 10-10 from the field during the game. Dominic James and Jerel McNeal also had very good nights as James had 15 points and 6 assists and McNeal added 16 points and grabbed 4 rebounds. After the game Rutgers coach Fred Hill said these words about Matthews’s performance: “He obviously had a great night. The only thing that we can do is make guys take tough shots. That’s our job and I thought that we made him take some real tough shots and he obviously made them. One of the things that he does real well is he gets to the free throw line. Tonight I thought we guarded him and made him take tough shots and didn’t allow him to get inside and get on the line like he normally does.”

On the other side, Rutgers shot 49.2% for the game and out rebounded Marquette 39-28 but the 17 turnovers proved to be costly to the Scarlet Knights as the game finished. Mike Rosario of Rutgers still had a big game despite the poor first half as he finished with 22 points and 5 rebounds. Corey Chandler also contributed a very good game as he had 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Marquette’s second half was very shaky and barely lost a 21 point second half lead. These were some comments from coach Buzz Williams after the game.

“Like all Big East road games I think that they are pretty hard to get. I thought that the first six to eight possession were okay, and I thought that we played pretty well the last 14 minutes of the first half. I thought that we started well in the second half, then right before the second media time out of the second half, I thought that we began to get a little out of character. Rutgers made a great run and we had a hard time controlling it. We had a hard time slowing them down, and it was just a fight the rest of the way. Rutgers was the aggressor and we struggled to calm them down. We were fortunate at the end to make free throw when they counted most and grateful to be able to pull it out.”


Don Dwyer and Pat Dunn
MUTV Sports

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Marquette-Rutgers Preview

The Golden Eagles will hit the road today for the first time in conference play in game number three of their heavyweight Big East schedule on Wednesday night. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (9-6, 0-2) will try to put an end to MU’s five game winning streak, and give them their first loss in conference play. #18/15 Marquette (13-2, 2-0) will have other plans though, as they are coming off their largest conference win in twelve years, as they bludgeoned Cincinnati on Sunday 84-50.

Despite their struggles, RU is not a team to be taken lightly. The key match-up that fans will want to key in on is Marquette’s savvy senior guard Dominic James, going head-to-head with Rutgers hot shot freshman, Mike Rosario. Rosario ranks third nationally in scoring among freshman with a 17.3 average and leads the Big East in free throw percentage, making 88.5 (46-52) of his attempts from the charity stripe. He can fill it up against the best, and you do not have to look any further than his 26 point outburst at #3/3 North Carolina. At 6’3”, 180 pounds, it will be interesting to see if James can handle the match up for forty minutes. Expect MU’s defense to be based around him as he is the only Scarlet Knight in double figures for the entire season.

Outside of the high flying Rosario, the Golden Eagles will have one other top priority, and that is senior guard Anthony Farmer. Averaging just under 10 points per game, and just under 3 assists per game, Farmer does a nice job penetrating, and setting up easy baskets for RU’s big men. Hamady Ndiaye, Gregory Echenique, and J.R. Inman are the big men on the receiving end of those drives and dishes, and they have an opportunity to really hurt the Golden Eagles inside. Scarlet Knights head coach Fred Hill has mixed and matched his lineup all season, so do not be surprised if you see the 6’11” Ndiaye, 6’9” Echenique, and 6’9” Inman on the floor at the same time. All though none of these three have been dangerous scorers all season, MU has had a tendency to host the coming out party for opposing forwards (see Wayne Chism of Tennessee).

On paper this is a game the Golden Eagles should win. Outside of Rosario on the defensive end, three of Marquette Fab 4 are going to have clear mismatches that they can take advantage of. Look for Jerel McNEal to build off his most recent Big East Player of the Week award, as his 7-7 shooting from three against Cincinnati will definitely raise some eyebrows in Piscataway, NJ.

Coming off that shooting display from the entire team, you can bet Rutgers will be closing out hard and fast on MU’s shooters. This will only play into Marquette’s game plan, as they will put the ball on the floor and get to the rim. But, they must attack the basket with their head up. One thing Rutgers does extremely well is block shots. Gregory Echinque averages an impressive three blocks per game, only to be outdone by his teammate Hamady Ndiaye who is averaging four. These two are the reason Rutgers leads the conference in blocks (that’s right, more than UConn). This could be a big day for MU’s forwards as well, as they could be the recipients of many drop passes for dunks.

Tip off is set for 6:30 pm CST from the RAC on Rutgers’ campus. WMLW will be producing the game for the greater Milwaukee area, and the game can be caught on ESPN Full Court.

Brian Henry
Marquette University Radio Sports Director
MUTV Remote Coordinating Producer