Scores

Final

Tulane 69

(10-13, 3-9 C-USA)

Marquette 81

(14-9, 5-7 C-USA)

1:00 PM ET, February 21, 2004

BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1 2 T
TULN 43 2669
MARQ 40 4181

Marquette 81, Tulane 69

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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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