Late Comeback Falls Just Short:GTown 62 MU 59

After falling behind 58-50 with just under a minute to go, a furious Marquette comeback fell just short, losing 62-59 after Jerel McNeal's last second three missed. While never giving up, Marquette could not overcome the powerful Hoyas front line. "We never got down, we always fought back," stated head coach Tom Crean. "In the end, it just wasn't our best day, especially guarding back cuts and penetration."

After major struggles in the first match-up at the Bradley Center, Jeff Green and Brandon Bowman controlled the game for Georgetown. Green had 16 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists, and Bowman scored 14 points, including four clutch free throws at the end of the game, and also brought down 7 rebounds.

"Georgetown deserves a lot of credit for how they played, both offensive and defensively," emphasized Crean.

After Marquette's quick start propelled them to a 20-9 lead midway through the first half, Georgetown took control of the game and held Marquette to two points the last 9:03 of the first half. In the second half, Georgetown continued to control the tempo, and forced Marquette to play their style of basketball.

When Marquette forced the tempo to pick up in the second half, Georgetown took advantage of their aggressiveness, and continually scored easy baskets off back cuts. Ashanti Cook, on the receiving end of many of these passes, also rebounded from a sub par effort in Milwaukee to score 16 points.

"It's very hard to come back on this team, and that's why they'll be a factor in the NCAA Tournament," added Crean.

Steve Novak led Marquette with 18 points on 6-9 from three, and his three-pointer with 5.6 seconds to go cut the Georgetown lead to 60-59. However, he was forced to commit his fifth foul after the play, and was unavailable for a last second shot.

"I had to foul him (Bowman) because of the situation," stated Novak. "Still, I had confidence that we would get a good look at the end of the game, like Dominic had against Louisville."

Dominic James had his worst game of the year, hitting just two of his 15 shots, and just 4-8 free throws. Still, he managed to contribute in other facets of the game, with 6 assists and 2 steals to go along with his 8 points.

"I would have taken him out of the game if he stopped playing his game," stated Crean. "We're not in this position if him and Steve didn't make plays this season."

Wesley Matthews continued his strong play, scoring 14 points and led the team with 6 rebounds in 24 strong minutes. Looking to have hit his stride again after coming back from the foot injury that sidelined him a month, Matthews will play a key role in the NCAA Tournament.

"He played a great game, and was one of our best guys out there," added Novak.

In the end, Georgetown's experience prevailed, and the Hoyas will take on Syracuse in the first semifinal of the Big East Tournament.

"This is a new experience for Marquette to play in Big East Tournament, and it was a new experience for the young guys to play under this kind of scrutiny and this kind of atmosphere," said Crean. "The guys have responded all year and gotten better, and I don't think it will be any different now."

Onto the NCAA Tournament:

Led by the man Jim Calhoun called, "the best young head coach in the country," Marquette will go onto the NCAA Tournament next week and have a chance to a major factor.

"Marquette is a very well coached, very poised team," added Georgetown head coach John Thompson III.

Looking at anywhere from a 5-8 seed, Marquette will be part of the Field of 65 for the first time since 2003 and will be a very tough out in the tournament. Playing in the Big East in New York will be good preparation for the Madness and Marquette could be one of many Big East teams ready to the show the rest of the nation just good the league is.

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