MU's Magic Number is Three[1 road/2 Home]

In a crowded pack of Big East teams fighting for NCAA bids, Marquette is standing out in February with some big wins on the road.    It isn't making it easy on the heart. Wednesday's 63-61 victory over St. John's was the second consecutive road win that went five extra minutes -- Marquette also needed overtime to knock off Cincinnati on Sunday.

Before returning home, Marquette has one more game on the East Coast, against Seton Hall on Sunday in Newark.
  Marquette has been strong on the road since conference play began. In addition to beating the Bearcats and Red Storm, the Golden Eagles have victories at UConn and Providence. Moreover, they fell to West Virginia by a point, Villanova by two and Syracuse by five. The biggest margin of defeat for the team away from home in conference play is that five-point loss to the Orange.

   Add that to a 2-1 record at neutral sites (wins over Xavier and Michigan and a one-point loss to Florida State at the Old Spice Classic in November) and it becomes apparent that Marquette isn't a team that relies heavily on a home-court advantage. Wherever they take the court and whatever the crowd, the Golden Eagles look pretty much the same.
   That is one factor that tends to impress the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. After all, the postseason games aren't played on anyone's home court, and the Golden Eagles have shown that they'll offer a strong performance wherever they are.

   SEASON RECAP: Marquette improved its record to 9-6 in the Big East with the overtime victory over Cincinnati on Feb. 21 and the squeaker over St. John's on Feb. 24.
   PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F Lazar Hayward, G/F Jimmy Butler, G Darius Johnson-Odom, G David Cubillan, G Maurice Acker. Key Subs -- F Joseph Fulce, G Dwight Buycks, G Junior Cadougan, F Erik Williams.
   Marquette 63, South Florida 52
   Pittsburgh 58, Marquette 51
   Marquette 79, Cincinnati 76 (OT)
   Marquette 63, St. John's 61 (OT)


at Seton Hall, Sunday, Feb. 28
   vs. Louisville, Tuesday, March 2
   vs. Notre Dame, Saturday, March 6
Marquette faces two tough home games to end the regular season, but Seton Hall is having a nice season and will be a tough opponent on the road.
   --Lazar Hayward sat out the final 5:34 of the first half after picking up his second foul and got his third with 17:54 to play. However, he played enough minutes to score a team-high 22 points.
   [--Jimmy Butler was the hero on Wednesday, hitting a fall-away jumper to beat St. John's in overtime. He nearly ended it in similar fashion in regulation but just missed a 20-footer that would have won it. 
   --Joe Fulce had only one basket, but it was a key three-pointer in the second half. The reserve forward has three three-pointers on the season, but two have come in the last two games.


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