Friday, March 18, 2011
Rapid reaction: Marquette 66, Xavier 55
By Brian Bennett
CLEVELAND -- Forget that "No. 11" by Marquette's name. This is officially a Team No One Wants To Play in this NCAA tournament.
At least, that is, if the Golden Eagles can duplicate Friday's effort against Xavier. They were simply terrific from start to finish in a commanding 66-55 win over the Atlantic 10 regular season champions.
Marquette shot 53.3 percent from the field and shut down Xavier star Tu Holloway, who had only one field goal and five points. Buzz Williams' team is a threat to get to the Sweet 16 if it can match this performance on Sunday.
Turning point: Marquette was in control most of the way and built an 18-point lead in the second half. But then Xavier finally got a little feisty, going on a 14-4 run to get back within eight. The Musketeers had a chance to get closer, but Holloway's difficult night continued when he was called for a charge. Marquette scored the next seven points to end the threat.
Star player: Just about everybody played well for Marquette, but Johnson-Odom had the best night.He scored 19 points and hit 4-of-6 3-pointers.
Miscellany: With Holloway and Jackson struggling, Xavier needed someone to pick up the scoring slack. Surprisingly, that was Andrew Taylor. The senior finished with 16 points; his previous career high was seven.
What's next: Marquette will take on the Syracuse-Indiana State winner Sunday. If the Orange prevail, that means there will be a Big East rematch in the second round. The Golden Eagles beat Syracuse 76-70 in the teams' lone meeting this season.