Louisville turns over No. 9 Marquette in 84-71 win
Marquette’s short stay at Madison Square Garden was a total
Kyle Kuric scored 20 points, Peyton Siva added 18 and Louisville
forced the ninth-ranked Golden Eagles into a season-high 26
turnovers, advancing to the Big East tournament semifinals with an
84-71 victory Thursday night.
”I’m not sure that they’ve had a better meal all year long than
what we served them tonight,” Marquette coach Buzz Williams said.
”I did a really bad job.”
Wearing a new set of bright orange, neon-looking uniforms, the
seventh-seeded Cardinals flashed their quick hands all over the
court and held Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder to 10 points
in 31 foul-plagued minutes.
Marquette entered as the top-scoring squad in the league at 76.1
points per game. But the defense of Chane Behanan and reserve Jared
Swopshire made it a very tough night for Crowder and his
Next stop, the NCAA tournament.
”You just clear your head, wait for the opponent that you’re
going to get matched up with come Sunday and find out what they
like to do,” Crowder said. ”But at the same time work on what got
us to this point. I feel like we’ll be fine once we get back to
what we do and study the next opponent and get back to them, and
we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Russ Smith and Behanan each scored 12 points for Louisville
(24-9), which will play No. 23 Notre Dame, the third seed, on
Darius Johnson-Odom had 23 points to pace No. 2 seed Marquette
(25-7), blown out by Louisville in the Big East quarterfinals last
year as well. The Golden Eagles trailed by 15 just 6 minutes in and
never took the lead. They are yet to make it past the tournament
semifinals since joining the league for the 2005-06 season.
”We were here last year, the same spot against Louisville, and
I thought everybody was mentally focused. We were ready,”
Johnson-Odom said. ”We didn’t bring enough energy in the first
half, and they just took us apart. A lot of it is on ourselves. …
We have to learn from what happened.”
Siva had another outstanding all-around game at point guard,
piling up eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. He had 14
points and six steals in a 61-55 victory over Seton Hall on
Smith also was a pest, snatching five of Louisville’s 14 steals.
No wonder Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said Wednesday night that his
squad is one of the best defensive teams in the country.
”The style, we go up and down. That’s what Coach wants us to
do,” Behanan said. ”All the teams we played so far in the Big
East, they expect us to slow it down. So now coming in, we agreed
we were going to play up and down like we (were) in the Bahamas.
We’ve just got to get used to it and attack everybody the same way
in each game. That’s how we’ve been getting up. That’s it.”
Junior Cadougan coughed up the ball a team-high eight times and
the 26 turnovers by Marquette, which averaged only 12.8 all season,
were one shy of the Big East tournament record. The Golden Eagles’
previous high this season was 17.
Marquette overcame an 18-2 deficit at home to beat Louisville in
their only other meeting this season, and the Golden Eagles fell
behind early again. This time, Louisville’s swarming defense was
too much to overcome.
”They kept hounding us,” Johnson-Odom said. ”I think we had
an idea that they were going to pressure us. I didn’t think it was
going to be at a high level like that.”
Crowder shot 4 of 13 but did grab 12 rebounds for Marquette,
which had won its first Big East tournament game the past five
Vander Blue’s layup cut it to 54-50 with 13:29 remaining, but
Kuric drained a 3 and Smith hit a pair of free throws with 11:22 to
go. Marquette never got closer than seven again.
It was the fourth time in five years that the No. 7 seed beat
the No. 2 seed in the quarterfinals at the Big East tournament.
The Cardinals, who won the 2009 tournament title and lost to
Connecticut in last year’s championship game, scored 50 points in
the first half – their largest output in a half this season. They
finished with 26 offensive rebounds and 23 points off
”It never seemed to be in sync,” Williams said. ”Seemed like
we just kept passing the mic at a karaoke bar and I’m not sure of
the words – you try. We were kicking the ball everywhere. They were
taking it from us, just no good, never in rhythm, never in
Swopshire had eight points and 12 rebounds in 20 minutes for
Louisville, which held Marquette to 2-for-13 shooting from 3-point
range in a game that had a much faster pace than most in this
week’s event at Madison Square Garden.
Jamil Wilson had 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks for
Just like their previous matchup, Louisville jumped on the
Golden Eagles from the opening tip. The Cardinals forced nine
turnovers in the first 10:14 and opened a 21-6 lead on Behanan’s
jumper with 14 minutes to go in the first half.
Marquette trimmed it to 34-33 on Wilson’s putback with 3:57 left
in the half, but Kuric’s 3-pointer started a 16-7 run that sent the
Cardinals into halftime with a 50-40 advantage.