LEXINGTON, Ky. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Close, but no cigar.
Vander Blue’s layup with one second left capped Marquette’s rally from a nine-point deficit and gave the third-seeded Golden Eagles a 59-58 victory over Davidson on Thursday in the NCAA tournament.
Blue and Jamil Wilson made consecutive 3-pointers to bring Marquette within 58-57 with 11 seconds left. The Golden Eagles then caught a huge break when De’Mon Brooks’ long inbounds pass went out of bounds at midcourt with 5.5 seconds left, providing another opportunity.
Blue took full advantage after getting Wilson’s inbounds pass, driving left and finding room for the winning basket. He then sealed Marquette’s improbable win by stealing Davidson’s last-ditch inbounds pass at midcourt to set off a noisy celebration among players and Golden Eagles fans at Rupp Arena.
Blue scored seven of Marquette’s final 11 points to finish with 16. Wilson added 14 points as the Golden Eagles (24-8) won for the fifth time in six games and advanced to face Butler in Saturday’s third-round game.
The Bulldogs beat Bucknell, 68-56.
Jake Cohen’s 20 points led Davidson (26-8), who seemed in control leading 49-40 with 6½ minutes left before Marquette rallied.
Marquette, not known for its outside shooting, finished 4 of 15 from 3-point range but got clutch shots from Blue and Wilson when the game seemed to be in Davidson’s hands.
A 9-1 run gave the Wildcats a 49-40 lead, and they seemed poised to seal the game thanks to Cohen, Brooks and Nik Cochran, who each scored 11. But Marquette kept plugging away and found itself within range in the final minutes.
Then came perimeter jumpers from Blue and Wilson to make it a one-point deficit for the Golden Eagles. Brooks’ unusual turnover followed and Blue took over from there.
The comeback spoiled Davidson’s upset bid and halted the nation’s longest winning streak at 17 games. The Wildcats entered the game shooting nearly 47 percent from the field, 37 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the free throw line.
They’ve been even better during the streak, shooting 49.3 percent from the field while holding opponents to 39 percent and winning by an average margin of 18.4 points.
Marquette shared the regular reason Big East title with Louisville and Georgetown. But coach Buzz Williams has sought a more complete game from his team, stressing extra possessions through rebounding while minimizing turnovers. The Golden Eagles’ main goal going in was to was create opportunities inside.
Early on, though, they couldn’t hit from anywhere.
As Marquette was missing 10 of its first 11 attempts, Davidson came out hot, especially from the perimeter. Chris Czerapowicz, J.P. Kuhlman and Jake Cohen all made 3-pointers in the Wildcats’ 12-2 start.
Davidson’s defense was also effective against Marquette’s second chances, forcing the Golden Eagles to shoot off balance instead of spotting up. The Golden Eagles regrouped slightly with five straight points, but Nik Cochran answered from beyond the arc to put the Wildcats ahead 15-7 with 12:19 left in the half.
By the half, Marquette had closed to 25-23 and the next 10 minutes were tight, with six ties and seven lead changes before De’Mon Brooks’ two free throws put Davidson up 40-38. After Wilson’s free throw for Marquette, Tyler Kalinoski followed with a 3-pointer and Cochran added a bank to put the Wildcats up by six, leading to a Golden Eagles timeout with 9:24 left.
What a finish! How many of you out there had Davidson winning? Let us know in the comments section below…
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