Rutgers loses to No. 10 Marquette
Rutgers coach Mike Rice was very direct with his answer when he
was asked the difference between his team and No. 10 Marquette.
”They have men, we have boys,” he said Wednesday night after
the Golden Eagles’ 82-65 win over his Scarlet Knights. ”We want to
do what Marquette does, but we need to keep working on it.”
Jae Crowder had 27 points and seven rebounds to lead
Rutgers starts three freshmen and one sophomore and its
inexperience showed as Marquette jumped to a 21-6 lead and then
held off several runs by the Scarlet Knights.
Rice said he was very pleased with how his team responded by
going on a 23-12 run to cut the lead to 33-29 toward the end of the
”I really liked our response,” Rice said. ”You are going to
get hit every once in a while and you have to respond. But then
Marquette put their head down and made things happen.”
Crowder’s big game came after he was named Big East Player of
the Week on Monday for his 29-point, 12-rebound effort in the
Golden Eagles’ win over Connecticut on Saturday. In the two games,
he is 19 of 27 from the field for Marquette (23-5, 12-3).
”I’m just doing whatever it takes to win games at this time of
the year,” he said. ”We want to have a lot of momentum going into
the Big East tournament and then roll that into the NCAA
Crowder, who is being mentioned as a candidate for Big East
Player of the Year, said he was happy to be an honorable mention
all-conference pick in the preseason. But he also used that as
”I knew I was capable of more,” he said. ”It’s been in the
back of my head since we were in New York for the preseason
Buzz Williams said Crowder is playing as well as any player he’s
coached in his four years at as coach at Marquette.
”He’s playing at a very high clip,” he said. ”His efficiency
numbers are staggering. He’s in a really good space emotionally,
physically and mentally right now.”
Darius Johnson-Odom added 21 points for Marquette.
The win was the fourth straight and 11th in 12 games for the
Golden Eagles and it kept them tied for second place in the Big
East with No. 20 Notre Dame, which beat West Virginia 71-44 on
Wednesday. The top four teams earn a double-bye for the conference
Crowder said getting the double-bye was key to Marquette having
a lot of success in the postseason.
”If you can get the double-bye, the chance of winning the
tournament are much higher,” he said. ”Last year, we were on the
other end of it and had to play right away. We want to change that
Jerome Seagears had 14 points and Gilvydas Biruta added 12 for
Rutgers (12-16, 4-11), which lost for the sixth straight time,
including three in a row to ranked teams. The Scarlet Knights were
routed by Notre Dame on Feb. 15, but held its own against No. 2
Syracuse before losing 74-64 on Sunday.
Biruta said the Scarlet Knights were still learning.
”We should learn from our mistakes, but we seem not to really
get better,” he said. ”Hopefully this game will be like rock
bottom for us.”
For Seagears, losing to three straight highly ranked teams
should pay off for Rutgers in the future.
”We get a lot of experience playing top 10 teams like this at a
young age,” he said. ”After a while, hopefully we will get some
Rutgers, which trailed nearly the entire game, trimmed the lead
to 58-52 with 11:30 remaining when Dane Miller scored on an
But Marquette responded with a 12-2 run to push the lead to
72-54 with 7:40 remaining when Johnson-Odom stole the ball and
scored on a dunk. Crowder had six points during the run, including
a nifty reverse layup.
Rutgers, which had 23 turnovers, could get no closer than 14
points the rest of the way. Marquette, which had 12 steals, scored
31 points off the turnovers.
Vander Blue added 10 points for Marquette.
The Golden Eagles, known for their slow starts, jumped out fast
against Rutgers, hitting seven of their first eight shots,
including three 3-pointers, and took a 21-6 lead when Todd Mayo
scored on a driving layup with 14:51 remaining.
But Rutgers used a 23-12 run to trim the lead to 33-29 when
Miller scored on a driving layup with 7:16 remaining.
Marquette ended the half on a 13-6 run for a 46-35 lead.
Johnson-Odom and Crowder combined for 32 points in the first
half as Marquette forced 14 turnovers and scored 18 points off
Marquette forward Davante Gardner missed his sixth straight game
with a sprained left knee.