Marquette vs South Florida recap

BY foxsports • February 9, 2011

By Paul Imig
February 9, 2011

Buzz Williams wasn't sure how to explain Marquette's one-point win at South Florida on Wednesday night.

He glanced at the game's statistics on the sheet in front of him and saw the field-goal percentages. The Golden Eagles hit 39.3 percent of their shots, while the Bulls connected on 51.1 percent.

Additionally, Marquette was 7-of-19 from the free throw line in the game and missed its final eight attempts down the stretch.

"For it to have played out the way that it did relative to the result from our perspective, I don't know that there's any philosophical way to describe it," Williams said. "South Florida could have easily won. I thought that they played extremely well.

"If you look at the numbers statistically, you could argue that they should have won. I'll just leave it at that."

After making only nine shots from the field in the first half, the Golden Eagles went into halftime down by seven while being held to a season-low 24 points. Marquette also allowed South Florida to shoot 68.4 percent in the first half.

It didn't get much better for the Golden Eagles to start the second half. They allowed the Bulls to score the first nine points out of halftime to quickly turn their seven point lead into 16.

Then, over a nine-minute span, Marquette went on a 23-7 run to tie the game at 51. It was the closest that the Golden Eagles had been since the score was 5-5.

"When you're down 16 on two different occasions in the second half, there's a wide array of emotions coming from everyone in your program, not just the players," Williams said. "I thought our guys responded collectively with the right emotion. And just as importantly, I thought that they responded with the right execution.

"We were down seven at half and I didn't think we were any good. I thought we did a really good job of not trying to hit home runs (in the second half), but just to throw good pitches. When you're down 16, home runs won't win it."

Over the final minute of the game, with Marquette up by four, the team missed seven consecutive free throws. Chris Otule missed one, Dwight Buycks missed two and Darius Johnson-Odom missed four.

"If we make five out of those seven, then we don't have the end that we had," Williams said. "But I do think that will grow us, just like the end against Louisville will grow you."

South Florida nearly made the Golden Eagles pay for the missed free throws, hitting a 3-point shot in the corner with less than 10 seconds to play. But just before the shot went up, Bulls coach Stan Heath called a timeout and the basket did not count.

Senior forward Jimmy Butler did not start for Marquette, but played 32 minutes off the bench. Butler suffered what Williams described as a "concussive blow" on Saturday during practice and missed a couple days of practice leading up to the game.

"(Butler) has kind of been in hibernation literally under my supervision the entire time since it's happened," Williams said. "I never penalize guys for getting injured. They can't control that. But at the same time, I always reward guys for hard work."

Williams said that Butler not being in the starting lineup "could have" been what caused the Golden Eagles to get off to a slow start.

Butler finished with 12 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Jae Crowder led Marquette in scoring with 14 on only six shots, making 4-of-5 from 3-point range.

Next up for the Golden Eagles (15-9 overall, 6-5 in the Big East) is a Noon tip-off at No. 11 Georgetown on Feb. 13.