New York City- The second Big East quarterfinal at Madison Square Garden saw Creighton defeat Marquette 74-63.
In the early going Creighton pushed the pace and attacked the rim. Marquette went scoreless for a four minute stretch allowing the Blue Jays to take a 7 point lead at the 12 minute mark.
With a two possession lead Greg McDermott’s Blue Jays started utilizing a deliberate half court tempo.
Marquette prevented Creighton from gaining separation by defense. Not the Shaka Smart ‘havoc’ of VCU days. The defense was in halfcourt fighting through screens and identifying cutters. On offense Marquette began to find the range.
Late in the first half it was evident, the remedy for both teams would be getting a few easy baskets. Points were not easy for either side to come by.
At the half Creighton held a 29-26 lead.
Offensive efficiency: Creighton 81, Marquette 72
First four minutes of the second half saw Creighton ‘win’ 10-8, pushing the lead to five points. For Creighton it was inside/out. First two trips down the floor they went to seven-foot Ryan Kalkbrenner in the low post for a bucket. Then Ryan Hawkins buried a three from downtown. Marquette, on their behalf, got out to a stronger offensive showing than the first twenty minutes following intermission.
Hawkins continued to step up. He buried a second three then finished a baseline drive to put Creighton up by ten with 13 minutes remaining.
The Creighton lead would reach 13 with just under 12 minutes to play. All teams make a run, Marquette was no exception. They rallied the latter ten minutes of the game, closing the deficit to a one possession contest with just over three minutes remaining. Creighton answered. The Blue Jays went on an 8-0 run to seal the verdict.
Offensive efficiency Creighton 106, Marquette 90
eFG%- Creighton 55, Marquette 47
Ft rate- Creighton 25%, Marquette 14%
OREB%- Creighton 36, Marquette 20
TO rate- Marquette 21%, Creighton 24%
Creighton shot better, got to the line and hit the offensive boards (13-2 edge in second chance points) harder. Marquette won the turnover battle, not enough though, to make up for the shortcomings in the other three areas.
Hawkins tied Marquette’s Darryl Morsell for scoring honors with 18 points. Trey Alexander scored 11 points while handing out 8 assists for the Blue Jays. Creigton’s 7’1" sophomore Ryan Kalkbrenner put together a stat stuffing line of 14 points, 9 boards and two blocked shots. Justin Lewis had a 17 point, 7 rebound outing for Marquette.
Creigton shot 49% from the floor including 41% beyond the arc. Marquette finished with a 40% field goal percentage, 32% from three.
Marquette is now 19-12. Creighton improved to 21-10 and faces Providence in the semifinals tomorrow. This was the 95th all time meeting between Marquette and Creighton. A series spanning 99 years. Oddly enough, it was the first time the pair faced each other on a neutral court. It was also the first meeting of the two schools in the Big East Tournament.