By Paul Imig FOXSportsWisconsin.com February 13, 2011
Buzz Williams wasn’t devoting too much of his attention to the negatives after a loss on Sunday at Georgetown dropped Marquette back to .500 in Big East play.
Instead, Williams focused more on the positives that he took from the 69-60 loss to the Hoyas.
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“I was really pleased with our effort,” the Golden Eagles head coach said. “Really pleased. I thought we played as hard as we’ve played all year long. I thought we played with great energy, I thought we had great fight.”
Georgetown has now won eight consecutive games in the Big East after starting conference play 1-4.
While Williams described the Hoyas as “obviously one of the top teams in the country,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said his team “didn’t play well.”
Marquette led by as much as nine in the first half, but that was trimmed down to four at halftime after the Hoyas closed the half on a 5-0 run.
Georgetown continued its run after the break, beginning the second half on a 14-6 run to go up by four. The Golden Eagles did come back to tie the game once after that, but never regained the lead.
Shooting struggles in the second half played a major factor for Marquette, hitting only 31.8 percent of its shots (7 of 22).
“I don’t know that there were any more, what as a coach you would call, a bad shot,” Williams said. “It was just shots that we typically make that we didn’t make.”
Williams expressed disappointment in his team’s 12 turnovers in a game in which the Golden Eagles only had five assists.
Hoyas leading scorer Austin Freeman left the game in the first half with a sprained ankle, but returned in the second half and played a total of 34 minutes, scoring 17 points.
“I think (Freeman) is everything that college basketball should be about,” Williams said, “so I want him to play as much as coach Thompson wants him to play. I don’t want anybody to get hurt.”
For the second straight game, Jimmy Butler came off the bench for Marquette after missing a few practices earlier this week because of a head injury he suffered in practice.
“That’s what we did the last game and we won (against South Florida on Wednesday), so we just stayed with it,” Williams said.
Butler played 33 minutes and had 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Darius Johnson-Odom led the Golden Eagles with 20 points. He also received a technical foul after making a gesture that followed one of his made 3-point shots. Williams said he didn’t see what Johnson-Odom did, but complimented the officials as being “as good of a crew as there is.”
Davante Gardner played 10 minutes off the bench and scored 12 points for Marquette. Those are both the highest totals for Gardner since opening Big East play.
Eight of Marquette’s last 10 opponents have been ranked in the national top-25, but the schedule softens up a bit as only one of the Golden Eagles’ final six games is against a ranked team. Additionally, four of the final six conference games will be played in Milwaukee where Marquette has only lost twice all season.