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Marquette 81, Tulane 69

2/21/2004

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Travis Diener had 28 points, but it was
little-used Chris Grimm who provided the edge for Marquette in its
81-69 victory over Tulane Saturday. Diener was certainly impressed.

"That was unbelievable," Diener said of the sophomore center,
who came off the bench to tally six points and eight rebounds, both
career highs, in a career-high 24 minutes. "That's what we need.
He played physical, he showed a lot of energy.

"He got the crowd into it more than anything."

Marquette needed the lift. Poor defense had the Golden Eagles
down 43-40 at halftime, and they trailed 48-44 early in the second
half before going on a 16-1 run to put the game away.

Grimm, who had not played more than 11 minutes in a game all
season, gave Marquette a 58-49 lead, then its largest, with a layup
put-back and free throw with 10 minutes left.

The Green Wave got no closer than eight the rest of the way.
Tulane went eight minutes without a field goal during the run, as
the Golden Eagles, led by Grimm, picked up their defense in the
second half.

Marquette outscored Tulane, 53-33, with Grimm in the game.

"Coach is always telling us to be ready," Grimm said. "You
never know when it's your time. Today was just my time."

The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for Marquette
(14-9, 5-7 Conference USA), its longest in five years. It avoided
losing five in a row for the first time since the 1990-91 season.

Wayne Tinsley led Tulane with 17 points, as the Green Wave
(10-13, 3-9) remained winless on the road this season. Tulane has
lost 11 straight road games dating back to last year.

Diener had seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals. His
point total was three shy of his career high set earlier this
month.

"Diener was phenomenal, making big shot after big shot,"
Tulane coach Shawn Finney said. "He willed his team to find a way
to win."

Diener scored 10 of Marquette's first 17 points, as the Golden
Eagles jumped to a 21-12 lead.

But Tulane countered with a 12-0 run to go up three, 24-21, with
7:30 remaining in the half. Tinsley had 10 points during the spurt.

Tulane shot 63 percent in the first half and made 6-of-10
three-pointers, as Marquette continued its struggles guarding the
perimeter.

Entering play, the Golden Eagles were 12th in the conference in
field goal percentage defense at 42.7 percent.

Tulane came in 12th in the league in field goal percentage, and
showed it in the second half, hitting just 31.3 percent of its
shots.

Tulane's Dan Fitzgerald, a freshman averaging 3.5 points per
game, had a career-high 16, including 10 in a row in the first
half.

Steve Novak added 16 points and seven rebounds for Marquette,
which has won five straight against Tulane and seven of eight.

Marquette outrebounded Tulane, 40-30, including 16-10 on the
offensive glass. Grimm had four offensive rebounds.

He helped Marquette overcome a two-point, two-rebound effort
from starter Scott Merritt, who played just 13 minutes.

"We got a serious contribution from our bench," Marquette
coach Tom Crean said. "Every week it seems like somebody is
stepping to the forefront. Chris has earned this."

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Notes: Marquette avoided losing three in a row at home for the
first time since the 1991-92 season. It has lost back-to-back home
games eight times since then, including to Texas Christian and
Memphis recently. ... Tulane had lost its previous six road games
this year by an average of 15 points. ... All fans received
T-shirts with the number "74" on them in honor of Marquette's
runner-up finish in the 1974 NCAA Tournament. Members of the Al
McGuire-coached team, which finished 26-5, were honored at
halftime.