Marquette puts foot on NCAA dance floor
The 11th-seeded Golden Eagles (20-13) advanced to the quarterfinals, where they will face third-seeded and 14th-ranked Louisville (23-8) on Thursday night.
Marquette came into the conference tournament considered the last of the 11 Big East teams that could get a bid into the NCAA tournament’s field of 68. It seems the wins over Providence and West Virginia have made that an almost certainty.
Kevin Jones had 15 points for the Mountaineers (20-11), the defending tournament champions who went on to the Final Four.
West Virginia was 7 of 11 from 3-point range in taking a 36-29 halftime lead, but the Mountaineers were just 3 of 11 from beyond the arc in the second half.
All eight teams in the quarterfinals have at least 20 wins and only Marquette is not ranked in the Top 25.
Junior Cadougan led Marquette with 15 points and five assists.
John Flowers had 11 points, and Darryl Bryant added 10 for the Mountaineers.
Neither team shined offensively over the final 10 minutes of the game.
Casey Mitchell’s 3 gave West Virginia a 51-48 lead with 11:06 to play but that was the Mountaineers’ last field goal until Flowers’ reverse layup brought them within 61-57 with 1:45 to go.
Johnson-Odom gave Marquette the lead for good with a 3 with 4:44 left that made it 58-55. That was the Golden Eagles’ first field goal in almost 6 minutes.
Johnson-Odom didn’t wait long for his next 3, making one less than a minute later that gave the Golden Eagles a 61-55 lead.
Bryant made two free throws with 31.5 seconds to play to bring West Virginia within 64-61 and he stole the ball right away but missed a wild shot and Marquette closed it out by making three of four free throws in the final 25.4 seconds.
Marquette lost to Georgetown in the semifinals last year and that was the team West Virginia beat for its first Big East tournament title. That was West Virginia’s third straight year of reaching the semifinals.
Marquette won the regular-season meeting with West Virginia, 79-74.