Marquette grabs control of Big East after win over Butler
MILWAUKEE —Markus Howard scored 28 points and Theo John added 15 points and 11 rebounds as No. 11 Marquette pulled away in the second half for a 79-69 victory over Butler on Wednesday night.
Marquette (22-4, 11-2 Big East) erased a eight-point deficit early in the second half with a 25-7 run.
Sean McDermott had 27 points and Kamar Baldwin 12 for Butler (15-12, 6-8).
With No. 17 Villanova's 85-73 loss at Georgetown on Wednesday, the Golden Eagles moved into the Big East lead a half-game ahead of the Wildcats.
Howard, the Big East's leading scorer, made 9 of 20 shots, including 6 of 13 from beyond the arc.
Baldwin hit two free throws to put Butler in front 44-43 with 12:45 remaining, but the Golden Eagles ran off 11 consecutive points, pushing the lead to 54-44 on John's rebound dunk.
Jordan Tucker ended Butler's scoring drought of almost 5 ½ minutes with a 3-pointer. On the ensuing possession, Howard was fouled on a 3 and converted the four-point play to make it 58-47 with 6:48 remaining.
.@Theojohn123 flexed his muscles in the paint tonight. ??
His 15-point, 11-rebound double-double is a big part of tonight's #mubb West Bend Highlights. @wbsilverlining pic.twitter.com/2WLAXcaKXW
— MarquetteMBB (@MarquetteMBB) February 21, 2019
Butler scored the first seven points of the second half to go up 37-29, but Marquette answered with eight consecutive points, pulling even at 37 on John's layin.
Marquette trailed 26-18, but closed the half with an 11-4 run.
Butler: The Bulldogs entered Wednesday in a six-team logjam in the middle of the conference, one game behind St. John's and Seton Hall in the win column, and a game ahead of Georgetown, DePaul and Xavier.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles have five regular-season games against teams they already have beaten. But, except for a 79-68 home victory over Providence, each of the other four games were decided by four points or less.
Butler hosts Providence on Tuesday.
Marquette is at Providence on Saturday.