(22) Pittsburgh 54

(19-6, 7-5 Big East)

Marquette 72

(18-6, 8-5 Big East)

9:00 PM ET, February 15, 2008

BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1 2 T
#22PITT 24 3054
MARQ 33 3972

Top Performers

Pittsburgh: S. Young 18 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast

Marquette: O. Barro 14 Pts, 12 Reb, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

McNeal, Marquette's big second-half run secures win over No. 24 Pitt

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Dominic James dominated Pittsburgh and scored only five points.

James had 12 assists without a turnover Friday night in Marquette's 72-54 victory against Pitt (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP).

Jerel McNeal scored 17 points and credited James with making the Golden Eagles go.

"Once he is playing like that, this is a team that is impossible to stop," McNeal said.

Marquette (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today) went on a 17-0 run early in the second half to take control and cruised to a victory.

"When you watch a young man who plays 31 minutes, gets 12 assists with no turnovers, that is special basketball," Marquette coach Tom Crean said.

Pittsburgh (19-6, 7-5) wasted the return of junior guard Levance Fields, who had missed a dozen games with a broken left foot. Fields played 20 minutes, scoring four points on 1-for-7 shooting. Sam Young scored 18 points to lead Pitt.

"We just really got beat in every facet," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "It really got away from us at about the 15 minute mark in the first half."

James only made 2-of-11 shots and is 20-of-61 in the team's last six games while being bothered by a wrist injury. Instead of scoring, the junior point guard found open teammates seemingly at will.

"That passing really is a gift from God," Crean said. "He's one of the best defenders in the country. He's been playing injured. He works and rehabs and he's a big-time player."

McNeal scored a pair of baskets to open the decisive run, giving the Golden Eagles a 41-28 lead and forcing Dixon to call a timeout.

The break didn't help the Panthers. Marquette scored the next 13 points to take a 54-28 lead on another McNeal field goal with 12:53 to go.

"I am disappointed in our play and disappointed in the loss, but we've recovered before and we'll look forward to doing that again," Dixon said.

Pittsburgh missed nine of its first 11 shots in the second half and had eight turnovers to one assist in the first nine minutes after halftime.

Marquette (18-6, 8-5 Big East) outrebounded Pittsburgh 13-4 and outscored the Panthers in the paint 16-2 to open the second half.

The Golden Eagles finished the first half on a 12-4 run, getting a pair of 3-pointers from David Cubillan in the final two minutes, to lead 33-23. Marquette led despite its leading scorer, Lazar Hayward, going scoreless in the half.

The teams took turns holding the lead in the early going. The Golden Eagles missed their first five 3-pointers, but Dan Fitzgerald hit one to give Marquette 19-16 lead with 9:48 left.

Fields returned after injuring his foot Dec. 29 against Dayton. He entered the game with 14 minutes left in the first half and struggled throughout.

He was called for an offensive foul on his first possession upcourt, but scored on his first shot, a breakaway layup with 12:33 left in the first half. He missed his final six shots.

Marquette, seeking additional help down low, decided to play 6-foot-7, 240-pound muscular freshman Trevor Mbakwe. The team had said in November that Mbakwe would miss the season with a left knee injury, but he received medical clearance to play several weeks ago and made his college debut late in the first half.

Mbakwe, who averaged 21.7 points and 12.7 rebounds as a senior at St. Bernard's High School in St. Paul, Minn., played eight scoreless minutes.

"My teammates kept telling me to be ready and when you go in don't worry about it, just play basketball," he said. "I wasn't that nervous."

A moment of silence was held before the game in honor of the victims of the shooting rampage Thursday at Northern Illinois University.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 54 72
FG Made-Attempted 22-59 (.373) 28-57 (.491)
3P Made-Attempted 1-11 (.091) 6-24 (.250)
FT Made-Attempted 9-10 (.900) 10-16 (.625)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (0/0) 15 (0/0)
Largest Lead 3 27

2007-08 Season

» Feb 15, 2008 @MARQ 72, PITT 54Recap
Mar 14, 2008 PITT 68, @MARQ 61Recap