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Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Marquette 67, WVU 61

By Ian Begley



Recap | Box score | Photos

NEW YORK -- A quick take on Marquette's 67-61 upset of West Virginia on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden:

WHAT IT MEANS: The defending Big East tournament champs are done. The Mountaineers' offense went cold late in the second half, and they couldn't make enough stops down the stretch in a disappointing second-round loss to the 11th-seeded Golden Eagles.

Marquette (20-13) likely sealed a bid to the NCAA tournament with the win. The Golden Eagles finished the regular season with two losses -- and a 9-9 record in Big East play -- but beat Providence 87-66 in the first round of the conference tournament Tuesday.

THE SKINNY: Following a Bob Huggins timeout, West Virginia (20-11) closed the first half on a 14-1 run to head into the locker room with a 36-29 lead. WVU held Marquette scoreless over the final 5:22 of the half.

Marquette cut a 10-point Mountaineers lead to two with 14 minutes to play on consecutive layups by Junior Cadougan. Jae Crowder hit a 3-pointer with 10 minutes to play to give the Golden Eagles a 53-51 lead, their first since the 3:21 mark of the first half.

The teams traded free throws for the next five minutes. Darius Johnson-Odom broke up the parade to the line with a 3-pointer with 4:36 to play, putting Marquette up 58-55. Johnson-Odom hit another 3-pointer with 3:53 to play as the lead ballooned to six. From there, Marquette went 4-for-5 from the line to seal the win.

West Virginia, which went scoreless from 5:50 to 1:40 in the second half, had a chance to tie with 30 seconds to play when Marquette, up 64-61, threw away an inbounds pass. But Darryl Bryant missed a layup, and Cadougan converted two free throws on the other end to seal it.

STAR WATCH: Cadougan finished with 15 points and went 7-of-9 from the line, hitting key free throws late in the second half. Johnson-Odom finished with 11 points, and Jimmy Butler had nine.

West Virginia's Kevin Jones, who attended Mount Vernon High School in Westchester, had 15 points. Brooklyn product Bryant, who had 25 points in the first Marquette-West Virginia game, finished with 10 on Wednesday.

NUMBERS CRUNCH: West Virginia entered play Wednesday night ranked sixth in the country in defending the 3-point shot, allowing opponents to shoot just 28.8 percent from beyond the arc. The Mountaineers held to form in the first half, holding Marquette to one make on four attempts from beyond the arc. But the Golden Eagles hit four of seven in the second half to finish at 45 percent.

The duo of Butler (16.2 ppg) and Johnson-Odom (15.9 ppg) came in averaging more than 30 points. They combined for just 20 on Wednesday, but Johnson-Odom scored seven big points in the second half.

WHAT'S NEXT: Marquette will face No. 3 seed and 14th-ranked Louisville on Thursday. The Golden Eagles lost to the Cardinals by one point on Jan. 15 at Louisville.