James ineffective in return for Marquette

March, 22, 2009
03/22/09
9:25
PM ET
BOISE, Idaho -- Dominic James stalled a bit when asked about his play during Sunday's 83-79 loss to Missouri in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

He talked about Maurice Acker and how well he played point guard in a fast-paced game against the Tigers, and then he paused for a second before giving his assessment of a decision that will be questioned by Marquette fans for years to come.

"I felt like I played decent."

James finished with a rebound, an assist, a turnover and three fouls in 17 minutes. He played 13 minutes in the first half and hindered his team physically more than he helped.

The broken foot that has kept James out of the lineup since Feb. 25, and was supposed to have ended his season, was noticeably bothering him, and he wasn't anywhere close to being the star player he was before he was injured.

"Obviously, I couldn't be as aggressive as I wanted to be," James said. "But I think I played solid defensively. But the game was never about me. It was about us, just like it's always been."

But the game became about James late Saturday night when news broke that he'd be making a miraculous return to the court. He entered the game three minutes in and was immediately limping. Missouri guard Zaire Taylor blew past him for a basket and an assist early. He got lost in Missouri's screens a couple of times when guard Kim English hit two of his 3-pointers. Offensively, James made a lot of fancy dribbling moves but never was a threat to score.

Coach Buzz Williams defended his decision to play James. He said that James was able to give Acker a breather and he was able to end his college career on the court.

"Above all else, I wanted him to finish his career in a uniform," Williams said of his senior. "Regardless of the result of today's game, I wanted him to have closure in regards to his basketball career at Marquette."

Graham Watson | email

College Football
Watson joined ESPN.com in 2008 after four seasons covering the Missouri Tigers and the Big 12 Conference for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She also covered college football recruiting for the Dallas Morning News.

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