MILWAUKEE (AP) — Marquette is using the toughest part of his schedule as an opportunity to cast himself as a legitimate Big East title contender.
Justin Lewis had 19 points and nine rebounds, and No. 24 Marquette never trailed in an 83-73 win over No. 12 Villanova on Wednesday night that completed a regular-season sweep of the carrier. conference flag.
It was the fifth time in six games that the Golden Eagles had faced a team ranked in the Top 25 at the time. They went 5-1 during that streak.
“When we approach a game the right way and we’re locked in playing for each other and we just have the crowd behind us and we play together as a team, I feel like we’re that good. than anyone team in the country,” said Darryl Morsell, whose second-half push thwarted Villanova’s comeback attempt. “I knew it. I tried to warn people. I tried to tell people.
Marquette (16-7, 8-4 Big East) won for the eighth time in nine games and completed its first regular-season sweep of Villanova (16-6, 9-3) since 2011-12. The Golden Eagles won 57-54 at Villanova on Jan. 19 to end the Wildcats’ 29-game winning streak on campus.
Those two losses to Marquette represent Villanova’s only defeats in their last 11 games.
The sweep represents Marquette’s latest notable achievement under new coach Shaka Smart, who rebuilt the Golden Eagles roster this offseason.
“There are a lot of new players on this team and a new coaching staff,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “It’s really impressive to see that it’s being put in place so quickly. I think Shaka and his team deserve a lot of credit. They’re not just talented. It’s a good team. They execute. They play well together. Like I said, it’s very impressive.
The first Marquette-Villanova game was decided by Lewis’ 3-point tiebreaker with 11.9 seconds left. This time, the Golden Eagles didn’t need to rely on big shots in the final seconds.
Marquette guard Tyler Kolek scored 18 points and Morsell added 15 before committing a foul. Villanova got 18 points from Brandon Slater, 16 from Collin Gillespie, 15 from Caleb Daniels and 10 from Jermaine Samuels.
Villanova rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to drop to under three midway through the second half, but Morsell unleashed a push that cut Marquette’s lead back to double digits .
After Gillespie missed a 3-point attempt that would have tied it with 9:19 remaining, Morsell was personally responsible for an 8-0 Marquette run. He had four baskets and blocked a shot in under 2½ minutes to extend the lead to 11.
Morsell’s first field goal during that streak ended a Golden Eagles scoring drought that had lasted nearly five minutes.
Marquette’s lead didn’t drop below seven for the rest of the way.
“I’m really proud of our guys for the way they’ve been hanging on,” Smart said. “I felt it was a game that there were many times we could have let go of the rope. We just kept fighting.
THE REVERSE OF FORTUNE
Marquette took control early on by turning her greatest weakness into a strength.
The Golden Eagles entered Wednesday having been passed by 3.8 boards per game. They were outscored 22-1 in second-chance points on Sunday in a 65-63 loss to No. 15 Providence, who scored the game-winning points by converting an offensive rebound into a three-point play.
But they dominated Villanova on the boards early on. They edged past Villanova 18-9 and had a 9-3 advantage in second-chance points in the opening 20 minutes.
Marquette finished with a 35-27 rebounding advantage and a 12-11 lead in second-chance points.
Villanova went on an 8-0 first-half run that culminated in a 3-pointer from Slater, who received a technical foul shortly after taking the shot that cut Marquette’s lead to 30-27 . Marquette scored the next 11 points, nine of which came from Kolek. Wright said the technical foul was called because Slater swore.
Villanova: The Wildcats recovered well early in the second half, but shooting issues prevented them from completing their comeback. Villanova missed 12 of his first 13 3-point attempts in the second half.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles improved to 6-5 against the top 25 teams this season. They are only the third team to sweep Villanova since the Big East revamped in 2013-14. The others were Creighton in 2013-14 and Butler in 2016-17.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE SURVEY
The win ensures Marquette stays in the Top 25 next week and could move into the top 20. Villanova shouldn’t fall too far after losing on the road to a ranked team.
Villanova: Hosts No. 17 UConn on Saturday.
Marquette: At UConn next Tuesday.
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