8:00 PM ET, December 15, 2003
BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Marquette coach Tom Crean would rather look at the positives than the negatives.Scott Merritt made two free throws with 2:47 left and even though Marquette failed to score the rest of the way, the 23rd-ranked Golden Eagles held on for a 68-65 victory over Canisius on Monday night."I chose to look at this game as half full instead of half empty," said Crean, whose team was 22-for-26 from the free throw line.Marquette (7-1), which was 12-for-13 from the line in the second half, got 14 points and nine assists from Travis Diener, while Steve Novak added 13 points and seven rebounds."It was not our 'A' game by any stretch of the imagination," Crean said. "Nobody played their 'A' game tonight but we won and we'll move on."Canisius (3-5), 1-50 against ranked opponents since 1968, was led by Kevin Downey's 19 points. He was 8-for-12 from the field.Canisius matched a season-high with nine 3-pointers and outshot Marquette, 47.2 percent to 36.2 percent, but the Golden Griffins were just 6-for-15 from the free throw line."I give them a ton of credit," Crean said. "I kept telling my team that they are a very good team."Leading by three points, Marquette missed three shots on one possession before Canisius got the rebound and called a timeout with 13 seconds left.Dewitt Doss then missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Richard Jones chased down the rebound and missed a wild 3-point shot from just in front of his bench. The ball bounced to Doss, who missed a game-tying 3-pointer as time expired."We tried to run a play for Toby Foster but if Doss was open; I don't mind him shooting it at all," Canisius coach Mike MacDonald said. "Rich Jones made a great hustle play and I thought we had two great looks."Added Diener: "We failed to box out and then we failed to box out again. But we made enough plays to win the game."The lead changed hands several times early in the second half until Marquette took a nine-point lead, its biggest of the game, with just under 6 minutes left.The Golden Eagles used a 10-2 run, capped by a basket by Diener, to take a 62-53 lead with 5:43 left. But it was the last field goal Marquette would score.Merritt's two free throws gave Marquette a 68-61 lead. Yaku Moton-Spruill's basket cut the deficit to 68-65 with 1:57 left, but neither team would score after that.On Marquette's final possession, Karon Bradley missed a 3-pointer but the rebound was tapped to Diener. After Marquette ran some clock, Novak missed a 3-pointer but Bradley grabbed the rebound. After more time ran off, Diener drove the lane and missed a one-handed shot off the backboard.A 3-pointer by Downey gave Canisius a 21-6 lead with 11:48 left. But the Golden Eagles held the Golden Griffins to just four field goals the rest of the half. Novak's 3-pointer gave Marquette a 35-33 lead, its first of the game, with 8 seconds left.
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