For senior forward Jae Crowder, Marquette is never out of a game, no matter how much they may find themselves down.
This year's Golden Eagles have found themselves down in the first half quite often, but that doesn't mean they're ever out of it. For Crowder, the only time he has felt like they were out of a game during his time at Marquette was last year's season ending loss to North Carolina.
"That's the only time I felt like ‘this is just not our night,'" Crowder said following a come-from-behind victory over DePaul on Monday. "Other than that, I feel like we got a chance."
In Big East play, the Golden Eagles have found themselves down and if they're going to continue winning they realize it's something they need to rectify.
"We can't put ourselves in those situations anymore," senior guard Darius Johnson-Odom said. "I think we know what we have to do. We're going to have to learn how to build on those mistakes, and try to be ahead and not be down so much in the first half."
Coming off a tough loss on Saturday against Notre Dame, Marquette needed to bounce back against DePaul, who may have been the perfect opponents for that type of game. But, the Blue Demons made sure it wouldn't be easy, jumping out to a 41-29 lead late in the first half.
After trimming the lead down to three at halftime, Coach Buzz Williams said he told his team the upcoming half was their most important one of the season.
"I think considering where our roster is as of today," Williams said, "considering it was a back-to-back road game within 48 hours, considering it was coming off a loss, considering the importance of this game to a lot of people because of the tradition, it was the most important half we have played and that's what I told our kids at halftime."
The team responded in typical fashion, coming back and beating their hosts 89-76, and maintaining their second place standing in the Big East.
While there have been other times this year when the team was supposed to be tired, they found themselves most drained after the game on Monday night at the Allstate Arena. They have been in the greater Chicago area (including South Bend) since early Friday night. After Monday night's win, in talking to the players, it was evident they just wanted to go home to Milwaukee.
Still, the Golden Eagles were able to make an amazing comeback against DePaul, one during which they completely dominated the final 24 minutes of the game.
In doing that, they scored 50 points in the paint, with their tallest player standing at six-feet-seven-inches. Redshirt sophomore Jamil Wilson posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and noted that just because they might not be as tall doesn't mean they can't dominate the paint.
"A lot of people would consider us small," Wilson said. "But when you attack the basket, get lay-ups, get an offensive rebound, you just need to keep going at it."
Dominating the paint will be an incredibly tough task on Saturday, when the Golden Eagles host conference rivals Cincinnati to the Bradley Center, especially if sophomore forward Davante Gardner is still out injured.
But, focusing on the here and now, the Golden Eagles showed perseverance and heart on Monday night, rebounding from a tough loss on Saturday with an entertaining and impressive victory against the DePaul Blue Demons.
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