Marquette beats Creighton in Bradley Center finale, 85-81
The Golden Eagles have the ability to come back from any deficit because of how well they shoot from the perimeter.
Rowsey scored 26 points and hit three deep 3s in the final 3:21, highlighting a second-half shooting surge that helped Marquette beat Creighton 85-81 on Saturday.
Marquette (18-12, 9-9 Big East) swept both games this year with Creighton. This time, a team that shoots 41 percent from 3-point range on the year overcame a 14-point deficit with 16:35 to go with another remarkable display from the arc.
Rowsey, a senior playing his last home game, led the way after launching his 3s from well beyond the arc. He was so far out on the first of his three late 3s that two defenders had retreated.
”When you’re just out there playing, you don’t realize where you’re at,” Rowsey recounted.
He was about 35 feet out, right about near the end of the scorer’s table next to the Marquette sideline.
”That was pretty deep,” Rowsey continued with a laugh in recounting the shot, ”but I think it’s going in.”
The Bluejays were helpless.
”Rowsey had to shot-put a couple because he was so far out there,” coach Greg McDermott said. ”Sometimes you have to tip your cap to them.”
Creighton (21-10, 10-8) still had a chance at the end after Marcus Foster hit a corner 3 with a defender in his face with 4 seconds left to draw within 83-81.
But Markus Howard, who had 25 points, finally finished off the Bluejays with two free throws with 3 seconds remaining.
”We are Marquette! We are Marquette” yelled the fans for one last time at the Bradley Center.
What a memorable way for the school to wrap a 30-year run at the arena. The Golden Eagles are joining the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks in moving to a new home next door scheduled to open in the fall.
”It was very bittersweet, knowing that everything is coming to an end,” Rowsey said about the moments after the final buzzer in his final home game.
Marquette needed a victory for a chance to get out of seventh place in the Big East and avoid playing in the first round of the conference tournament on Wednesday.
The loss, coupled with Providence’s win over St. John’s, gives the Friars the No. 3 seed into the Big East tournament and Creighton the fourth seed.
Foster finished with 29 points, while Khyri Thomas had 24.
Creighton had built a 14-point lead with 16:35 left when Marquette found its footing on both ends of the floor.
Defensively, the Golden Eagles challenged the Bluejays on trips into the lane. On the other end, one of the nation’s most prolific 3-point shooting teams got hot at the arc, hitting 10 of their final 12 attempts.
”We fought tooth and nail against a very desperate team today,” McDermott said. ”We controlled the game for a good 25, almost 30 minutes. And then 10 out of 12 is an incredible performance from the 3-point line, I don’t care who’s defending.”
Creighton: Thomas has had his way this season with Marquette. He finished two points off the career high he set during the Golden Eagles’ win in Omaha on Feb. 17. The athletic 6-foot-3 guard shot 9 of 14 on Saturday, though he scored just five points in the second half.
Marquette: With a win, the Golden Eagles had the opportunity to finish as high as sixth in the Big East. … Howard, a sophomore who turned 19 on Saturday, passed the 1,000-point plateau for his career.
AT THE HALF
Howard said coach Steve Wojciechowski gave the team an earful at the half with Marquette trailing 42-37. Creighton shot 47 percent in the first half and committed just one turnover.
”I just asked (them) to please play a little harder,” Wojciechowski deadpanned.
The Golden Eagles responded to their coach’s plea for more energy on the defensive end. Wojciechowski said that then jump-started the offense.
Marquette finished 387-115 all-time at the Bradley Center, which opened in 1998.
The Big East Tournament begins on March 7 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
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