"It feels good, for me it feels really good because I am from here," Matthews said. "Everyone did their part to make this win as big as it is."
Marquette started the first half hot, jumping out to a 21-13 advantage. The Golden Eagles shot well, hitting 10 of their first 13 field goals. They finished at 55% shooting during the first half, including 62% from inside the arc. In the first seven minutes, junior Jerel McNeal had 8 quick points, propelling Marquette to an early lead.
"When we started getting defensive rebounds, we were able to run and that got us started," McNeal said.
Junior guard Dominic James also had the hot hand in the first half, scoring 11 points and dishing out four assists. James seemed to carry Marquette through the game, scoring during the most crucial stages of the game. With four minutes to go in the game, James knocked down a runner, over Brian Butch, to give Marquette a two point lead.
James also showed his abilities on the defensive end. James had three steals, and took a key charge in the second half to ignite his team. Butch started off hot as well, scoring 13 in the first half. "We were not very good in the first half. We didn't get anything out of the four or five position," Head Coach Tom Crean said.
In the second half, the big men stepped up. Butch only had four in the second half and Crean praised his forwards. "I think they responded to the challenge at half time, not just from me, but from their own teammates."
"We needed guys to step up, and Dwight and Ous did a great job tonight," said James.
To go along with strong second half defense, Burke was also active on the boards. Against a much bigger Wisconsin team, Burke pulled down nine boards and had two blocks. Of those nine rebounds, seven were on the offensive end, giving Marquette second chance opportunities. Burke also had 12 big points, as well as two big free throws to expand the lead to five with 1:29 to play.
Rebounding was supposed to be the advantage for the Badgers in the game, but Marquette out-rebounded Wisconsin 41-34. "The stat that is the most telling for us is the way we rebounded the basketball. For us to out-rebound them today was the key," Crean said.
It also didn't matter that the Badgers had the size inside as Marquette outscored them in the paint, 44-30.
Even though Marquette found themselves in foul trouble early in the second half, the Badgers could not convert from the line. Wisconsin shot 12-22 from the line in the second half.
"You know if you're going to come into this game, you're going to have to play with emotion, play with enthusiasm and energy, but you're going to have to be smart, and you have to be tough," Crean said. "I think we had that smartness and that toughness that leads to maturity, and that's what we did today."
Marquette takes a break for finals, and will play again on December 15th against Sacramento State.
Coming into the game, Wisconsin was #3 in the nation in second chance points. Marquette outscored them in second chance points 26-18…
The double technical fouls in the second half on Trevon Hughes and Dominic James were shrugged off as "two players competing"