Marquette to take on University of Miami on Thursday, March 28th
LEXINGTON (WITI) — The Marquette Golden Eagles advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 with a hard fought 74-72 victory over the Butler Bulldogs on Saturday, March 23rd.
The game was another close one for the Golden Eagles as the Bulldogs had a chance to tie or win the game in the final seconds. But Marquette’s defense was able force a bad shot that missed badly, ensuring the Golden Eagles a trip to the “Sweet 16”.
Marquette struggled in the first half, shooting only 26% from the field and trailing 36-27 at the break.
But in the second half, the Golden Eagles’ defense began pressuring the Bulldogs with a full court press and keeping Ratnei Clarke from taking over the game after he scored 18 first half points. Clarke only had 6 points in the second half finishing with 24.
For Marquette, Vander Blue took the game over in stretches, scoring 19 of his game high 29 points in the second half, including a 3 pointer from the corner tying the game at 69 with 1:25 left in the game.
From there, Davante Gardner hit 3 free throws looking to secure the win for Marquette. But after a Butler basket cutting the lead to 74-72 Marquette turned the ball over on a poor inbound pass giving Butler one last chance with 2.9 seconds to go.
It was very reminiscent of the win by Butler over Marquette in the Maui Classic early in the season when Clarke hit a 3 at the buzzer to beat the Golden Eagles 72-71. However, this shot didn’t fall and Marquette is the team still playing and Butler is back in Indianapolis.
Jamil Wilson and Trent Lockett each added 13 points for MU.
Marquette will play the University of Miami “Canes” on Thursday in Washington D.C. for the chance to advance to the “Elite 8”.