"Have they played better than that?"
A strong first half performance and two huge second half runs helped Marquette crush Notre Dame's hopes of starting 3-0 in the Big East, as it won Saturday afternoon at the Bradley Center.
"They were fabulous," said Brey. "They had a great offensive rhythm. I don't think they've mad 12 three-pointers this year. They shot it well and their speed really took its toll on us. We couldn't get into an offensive rhythm because of their team speed and team defense."
It was a big day for
"He played outstanding," said
"He's the most improved player in the Big East," said Brey. "That's the guy I would probably vote for right now."
Jerel McNeal led the Golden Eagles in points with 18, and Dominic James added 16 points and seven assists. Wes Matthews and David Cubillan rounded out the quintet of high-scorers, recording 15 and 11 points, respectively.
"A lot of guys for them made big shots and big plays" said Brey. "It wasn't just one or two guys. Seven, eight, nine guys made plays at key times."
MU jumped out to a quick start, scoring off the opening tip and keeping their lead for the remainder of the game. With 11:05 to play in the half Cubillan brought the crowd to its feet by hitting a three to beat the shot clock, putting
In the second half, Notre Dame was able to close the gap to five points on a three-pointer by Rob Kurz with 17:12 to play. Marquette proceeded to go on a 20-5 run, highlighted by a Lawrence Blackledge block on Luke Harangody that was followed by a Cubillan three-pointer at the other end, to extend their lead to 66-46.
"It was a great win for us, and a statement win for us," said Crean. "Not a statement on the outside, but a statement on the inside – that we could play this way and that we could follow a game plan. We had to deal with adversity and we had to deal with the foul trouble, but we were able to get through it."
The Golden Eagles also received a strong performance from Blackledge. In 14 minutes, the senior recorded six points and two blocks while playing strong interior defense.
"I'm going to give my wife credit on that one," said Crean. "I walked into the film room and said, ‘Joanie thinks if we get in any trouble with Harangody, we should put Trend on him,' and there was dead silence. When a guy scored 29 points you can't feel that good about how you defended him, but Trend did come in and cause some havoc and caused some length problems for Luke."
"We were getting stops and were off and running," said
Luke Harangody matched his career high with 29 points on 10-17 shooting for Notre Dame. He committed only one personal foul, while the three
"He's one of the best players in the country," said Crean.
Harangody previously reached the 29 point mark two weeks ago against
"We actually wanted to do a lot better job than we did of limiting his post touches," said McNeal. "We didn't do a great job on him, but at the same time it would be hard to have one guy come out and beat you. We did a good job of shutting the other four guys down."
The win was also
The Golden Eagles return to action January 17 as they take on the Louisville Cardinals at Freedom Hall.