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Thursday, March 11, 2010
Marquette 80, Villanova 76

By Dana O'Neil

NEW YORK -- Buzz Williams' pulse rate continues to rise, but so do the abilities of his Marquette team.

Expected to fall apart after losing three 1,000-point scorers, the Golden Eagles instead have soared into the Big East Tournament semifinals. And the heart attack kids did it the only way they know how -- in a close game. Marquette is now 8-8 in games decided by six points or fewer, but none of the close ones have been bigger than this one. Once on the bubble, the Golden Eagles are steadily playing their way up the seed rankings, proving to be a team that thrives on drama.

The Golden Eagles will face fellow upset maker Georgetown in the semis tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Villanova, once in line for a top seed instead will skid into the NCAA tournament, having lost six of their last 10 games after a 20-1 start. The Wildcats finally found another scorer not named Scottie Reynolds or Corey Fisher. Corey Stokes had a career high 22, but Villanova's defense was a killer. The worst team at defending the arc lived up to its billing, allowing a hot-shooting Marquette team to drain 9-of-16 3-pointers.