Saturday, March 09, 2002

Marquette 85, Houston 73


Depth keeps Eagles fresh

By Gary Estwick gestwick@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Early in the first half Friday, Marquette coach Tom Crean subbed players in and out of the Golden Eagles' Conference USA Tournament semifinal against Houston.

        Crean's reserves struggled briefly against Houston's hustling starters. As the game continued, though, his mix of fresh players and starters wore down the Cougars.

        Marquette took the lead and took control of the game and never relinquished either, winning 85-73 at Firstar Center.

        “I think if you're going to win in March, you've got to have good depth,” Crean said. “And you've got to have production from your bench.”

        The Golden Eagles (26-5), winners of 15 of their last 17 games, move on to play UC in the conference tournament final today.

        Marquette point guard Cordell Henry scored a game-high 27 points. He also went 3-of-5 on 3-pointers. Fellow guard Dwyane Wade added 18 points.

        While Henry and Wade's ability to create open shots kept the Golden Eagles ahead, their bench gave them the lead.

        Six minutes into the game, with Henry and Wade on the bench, Houston went on an 8-1 run to take its first lead.

        That's where Marquette reserves moved into the limelight. Forward Jon Harris helped his team settle down by making a layup and a jump shot. His teammates followed, as the Golden Eagles outscored Houston 27-19 to end the half. Four reserves scored 13 points in the first half (the group finished with 18).

        Marquette led by at least eight for the rest of the game.

        “Our bench was pretty good,” Crean said. “Real good.”

        Houston's lone reserve of the first half, forward Jeremee McGuire, was 0-for-1. Neither of the Cougars' two reserves scored in the game.

        Marquette used nine players.

        “Whenever you can use your reserves, that's a plus,” Henry said. “They're going to make something happen.”

        Louis Truscott led Houston with 20 points. Marcus Oliver, who scored a career-high 25 against Memphis Thursday, scored 19.


HOUSTON (73)


                          fg    ft    rb             
                   min   m-a   m-a   o-t   a  pf   tp
P Okafor            36   5-7   2-2   1-5   6   2   12
L Truscott          40   7-8  6-11   3-7   1   2   20
B Shelton           36   3-4   0-0   0-1   1   4    8
M Oliver            40  7-14   3-4   1-4   1   1   19
D Smith             38  4-16   4-4   0-3   2   5   14
J Mcguire            8   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   2    0
T Price              2   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0    0


_____________________________________________________
TOTALS             200 26-50 15-21  5-20  11  16   73
_____________________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.520, FT-.714. 3-Point Goals:
6-13, .462 (B Shelton 2-3, M Oliver 2-4, D 
Smith 2-6). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 
1 (J Mcguire). Turnovers: 9 (P Okafor 2, M 
Oliver 2, B Shelton 2, D Smith, J Mcguire, L 
Truscott). Steals: 3 (M Oliver 2, P Okafor).


MARQUETTE (85)


                          fg    ft    rb             
                   min   m-a   m-a   o-t   a  pf   tp
O Blankson          22   3-7   3-4   2-5   1   2    9
S Merritt           21   1-1   0-0   0-3   0   3    2
O Nnamaka           37   3-4   4-4   1-4   2   2   11
C Henry             38  9-16   6-6   0-1   6   1   27
D Wade              25  8-16   2-2   2-3   2   1   18
T Diener            23   3-6   0-1   2-3   2   4    8
D Diggs             11   2-2   0-0   0-1   0   0    6
J Harris            19   2-2   0-0   0-2   0   3    4
T Sanders            4   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   1    0


_____________________________________________________
TOTALS             200 31-54 15-17  7-22  13  17   85
_____________________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.574, FT-.882. 3-Point Goals:
8-14, .571 (O Blankson 0-1, O Nnamaka 1-1, C 
Henry 3-5, D Wade 0-1, T Diener 2-4, D Diggs 
2-2). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 2 (O 
Blankson, O Nnamaka). Turnovers: 8 (O 
Blankson 2, C Henry 2, S Merritt, O Nnamaka, 
D Wade, T Diener). Steals: 1 (O Blankson).


-----------------------------------
HOUSTON              34  39   -  73
MARQUETTE            45  40   -  85
----------------------------------- 


Technical fouls: None. A: 0. Officials: Mike 
Thibodeaux

       



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