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01/14/2012 5:58 PM EST
No. 25 Marquette beats Pittsburgh 62-57
MARQUETTE 62, PITTSBURGH 57
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Marquette coach Buzz Williams was pleased his
team played well for more than one half Saturday.
One game after the 25th-ranked Golden Eagles had to rally in the
second half to come back and beat St. John's, they had a late
surge in the first half and then turned up the defensive
pressure in the second to come back and beat Pittsburgh 62-57,
handing the Panthers' their sixth straight loss.
Marquette (14-4, 3-2 Big East) won for the second straight time
in conference play after losing consecutive games to No. 11
Georgetown and No. 1 Syracuse.
"I thought we played more minutes of us than we have been," he
said. "But in the second half, we were really good in a lot of
ways and that helped turn the game around."
The best way was with defense.
Using a three-quarter court press, Marquette went on a 13-0 run
midway through the second half to turn a five-point deficit into
a 49-41 lead with 5:04 remaining. Marquette's run featured
consecutive steals and driving lay ups by Todd Mayo that got the
crowd into the game and rattled Pittsburgh (11-7, 0-5).
Williams said Mayo was the difference in the game.
"His defensive pressure was superb," Williams said. "I thought
we were able to hang in there in a grind-it-out game. We're very
thankful for this win."
Marquette's Jamil Wilson said he wasn't sure why the Golden
Eagles continue to start games slow, but he had an interesting
"Maybe everyone needs to wake up and splash some water on their
face before the game," said Wilson, who had nine points and
seven rebounds. "We need to get loose and into a rhythm and stop
starting games so slow."
Darius Johnson-Odom scored 18 points and Jae Crowder added 15
Ashton Gibbs had a career-high 29 points and Nasir Robinson
added 10 for Pittsburgh, which remained the only winless team in
the Big East.
Panthers coach Jamie Dixon was not pleased his team still did
not have a conference win, but was happy with Pittsburgh's
In its last game, a 62-39 loss to Rutgers on Wednesday,
Pittsburgh hit only four field goals in the first half and ended
up making 12 of 57 for the game. It was their lowest point total
in 38 years and lowest at home in 61 years.
"I liked how we played," Dixon said. "The second half, we had
some challenges there given the foul situation and I think that
really caught up to us. We did some really good things. I'm
proud of how hard we played but we didn't get it done."
Pittsburgh hit just 20 of 46 shots in the game, including only 6
of 20 from 3-point range.
Gibbs hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 54.1 seconds
remaining to trim Marquette's lead to 60-57.
With the shot clock running down, Crowder missed a 3-pointer
from the corner, but Davante Gardner grabbed the rebound and was
fouled with 18.1 seconds left. He hit both free throws to give
Marquette a 62-57 lead.
Marquette trailed until turning up the defensive pressure midway
through the second half.
Gibbs hit three free throws for Pittsburgh, but Crowder
countered with a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give
Marquette a 52-44 lead with 6:07 remaining.
Pittsburgh narrowed the lead to 54-51 when Gibbs hit a jumper
with 3:25 remaining. Johnson-Odom then hit consecutive
3-pointers to give Marquette a 60-51 lead with 1:50 remaining.
Pittsburgh took a 21-13 lead when Lamar Patterson scored on a
layup with 7:18 remaining. But Marquette fought back with a 7-1
run to cut the lead to 22-20 with 3:52 remaining on a free throw
The Panthers closed the half strong to take a 29-24 lead.
Despite the lead, Pittsburgh continued to struggle from the
field as the Panthers hit only 10 of 25 shots, including making
only 4 of 12 3-pointers.
The loss broke the Panthers' four-game winning streak against
Marquette. Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 8-7.
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