MILWAUKEE—After losses in the past to Syracuse and Notre Dame the past two years on senior day, Marquette went into this year's game against Cincinnati with more motivation, as they had the chance to all but seal a first round bye in the Big East tournament, all the while clinching another 10-win Big East season.
Instead Mick Cronin's gritty Cincinnati Bearcats were able to get their 10th Big East win, and 5th on the road, in a 67-60 win at the Bradley Center on Wednesday night.
The Bearcats had 4 in double figured, headlined by Yancy Gates, who had a double double with 11 points and 11 boards. Cashmere Wright lead the way with 15 points for Cincinnati, with Ibrahima Thomas and Dion Dixon each adding 12.
For Marquette, the story on senior night was their do-it-all senior Jimmy Butler. Butler put up a career high 30 points, adding 6 rebounds and 3 steals to his line also. Darius Johnson-Odom also finished in double-figures with 15. No other Golden Eagle scored more than four points.
With 8:38 left in the first half, Marquette led 22-16, behind 10 points from Butler. Cincinnati countered that with a 16-4 run over the next 6:25, which put them up six, at 32-26.
Mick Cronin's squad went into intermission up by the same margin. They then saw the lead cut to one at the 17:06 mark in the second half, after Butler scored five quick points, and Johnson-Odom added a transition lay-up.
Momentum then swung back in the other direction just as quickly as it came, as the Bearcats woke up from their short-lived hibernation, going on a 9-0 run to take a 48-38 lead with 12:32 left in the game. From that point on, Cincinnati's lead was never less than five.
The Bearcats had 11 offensive rebounds in the second half, including six during their pivotal 9-0 second half run.
Marquette was within 5 points with the ball late multiple times, but showed a lot of tentativeness, passing up on many decent looks from the floor trying to get great ones.
Butler got to the line a whopping 17 times, making 15 of his attempts, but did not score in the last 6:18, taking only a pair of field goal attempts during that span.
Butler admitted after the game the team needs to work on being so cautious with the ball and that they need to take some big shots.
"We have a tendency to stand and watch a lot of the time," Butler said after his career night. "I think we have to do more movement. When the ball sticks in one person's hand, everyone thinks it's okay to stand and watch."
The Bearcats controlled the play in the first half, and the Golden Eagles might have been fortunate to only be down six at the break, as were the sentiments of Coach Buzz Williams. Williams commented that the press Cincinnati came out with really gave his squad troubles.
"I did not think we handled their pressure very well at all in the first half. To have only been down six is somewhat shocking considering we had turned the ball over nine times."
Whenever Marquette looked like making a run in the second half, their momentum was put to an abrupt halt by a Cincinnati basket, right on the other end, something Bearcats' coach Mick Cronin thought was a big difference in the contest.
"When Marquette made a run at us we answered it with made shots or follow shots and refused to be denied, which is the mark of a very good basketball team."
Marquette will now more than likely, have to play on the first day of the Big East tournament, which means that they will only have two days between their Saturday game against Seton Hall and their first game in New York City on Tuesday. Saturday's clash against the Pirates presented the Golden Eagles with a game they must win to get any possible momentum heading into the Big East tournament and beyond.
Butler admitted after the game Marquette needs to win every game they play for the rest of the regular season, if they want any chance at putting themselves in a capable position in the postseason.
"We have to win as many games as possible between today and Selection Sunday to give us a better seeding in the NCAA Tournament. So I think our mentality is going to be to win. It's always our mentality, but it's definitely our mentality now.
Marquette Hoops Top Stories
Highlights of 2017 PF Hasahn FrenchHasahn French is a productive 2017 forward. Here are highlights of French from the Pangos All-American Camp.
Highlights of four-star center Theo JohnTheo John is a four-star center from Minnesota. Here are highlights of the 2017 prospect from the Pangos All-American Camp.
Scout's Inside Recruiting ScoopSep. 14 -- What's the latest on the top recruits in the country? Scout's basketball recruiting team -- Evan Daniels, Brian Snow and Josh Gershon -- break down the latest, including…
Bruin Report Online09/14/2016
French Talks Upcoming VisitsSix-foot-7, 225 pound power forward Hasahn French is now setting visits. GI caught up with French today to hear the latest.