Twenty-first ranked West Virginia (13-3) fell behind at the 14:02 mark in the first half and never sniffed the lead again. The Mountaineers and their patented 1-3-1 were no match for the Golden Eagles, whose consistent penetration and hot shooting helped sustain a comfy lead throughout and eliminate their year long struggles against zone defenses.
"Nobody wants to lose at home," said Tom Crean of defending the Bradley Center in front of 17,468 fans. "Our energy and our ability to keep running is what really separated us today."
Marquette's energy burst midway through the second half. After West Virginia's leading scorer Frank Young (11 points) made a three point shot to pull West Virginia within nine at 54-45, Marquette went on a 10-0 run to put the game away.
"Reality set in today," said John Beilein, whose ranked Mountaineers fell to 3-2 in Big East play. "Marquette is an extremely good ball team. Today, they played like a team who returned four of five starters from an NCAA team a year ago.
"We are going to have some games like this and are going to have to suck them up."
Billed as one of the best shooting teams in the country, Beilein's Mountaineers shot just 39% from the floor and 23% from beyond the arc. Conversely, Marquette shot over 40% for the first time in conference play, netting a blazing 57% of their shots beyond the arc and 53% overall. Leading the way for Marquette was Cubillan, whose career high 14 points came on a perfect 5-5 from the floor.
"Cubillan makes a huge difference," Beilein said of the freshmen. "We didn't shade him like you would an NBA draft pick and maybe we should have."
Added Crean, "He needs to see his role as not just a top notch defender, but as an excellent shooter and we have to continue to find him."
After a home loss to Syracuse Sunday night dropped Marquette to 0-2 in conference play, Crean called on his team to spend more time in the gym after practice.
"Yea, a lot of guys got back in," said Jerel McNeal of his teammates spending more time getting extra shots this week. "Guys were checking themselves to see if they were doing all that they could to help us win games."
Marquette will have one day to prepare for a road trip to Louisville, who has beaten Marquette in their last two trips to Freedom Hall. With a 3-1 road and neutral court record including wins over Duke and UConn this season, Marquette ranks fifth in the country in the RPI rankings on the road. Monday's game will be nationally televised on ESPN.
**Andrew Sharos is a senior with a double major in Secondary Education and History and is also the Head Student Writer for MarquetteHoops.com.