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Memorable Moments Are Made In March

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By Chris Jenkins
Marquette Senior Writer
 
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- As Buzz Williams walked off the court after a thrilling last-second victory, a young fan reached down from the stands for a high five.
 
"I'm too tired to reach up!," Williams called out to the kid, with a smile. "Reach down."
 
After struggling through 38 energy-sapping minutes, everything suddenly turned beautiful for Marquette at the end. 
 
The Golden Eagles hit three 3-pointers in the final 1:03 and Vander Blue tossed in a running layup with a second left on the clock to dismiss a tough Davidson team 59-58 in the NCAA tournament on Thursday.
 
After a Davidson turnover, Blue got the inbounds pass and shot past defender Jake Cohen, finishing with a left-handed layup off the glass.
 
It was another big moment for Blue, who hit a last-second shot to beat St. John's on March 9 and help Marquette clinch a share of the Big East regular season title. 
 
This was even bigger.
 
"I'm not ready to go home," Blue said. "I know our team wasn't ready to go home."
 
At this point, the Golden Eagles are no strangers to close games.
 
"We've been in more one or two possession games, I would stay, than any BCS team in the country," Williams said. "And so it has helped me, it has helped our staff, it has helped our team."
 
Before their scoring burst in the final minute-plus, the Golden Eagles had made only one 3-pointer all game. They shot 34.5 percent from the field Thursday.
 
After quipping on Wednesday that his team "can't shoot," Williams made it clear after Thursday's game that he wasn't kidding.
 
"I don't think that we can shoot, and that wasn't me being sarcastic," Williams said. "I'm very transparent.  I think that we do a good job in late game execution.  Part of that is because we've been in so many of them and not just this year."
 
With shots simply not going down all game, Jamil Wilson said the Golden Eagles relied on their defense. 
 
"All year, we've kind of been a defense-predicated team," Wilson said. "Our defense dictates our offense.  Early in the game we're kind of stagnated. Our offense was lagging. Later in the game when things were turning bad, our back was in the wall, we went back to what we know, getting stops, taking the team out of what they wanted to do. And once our defense started to pick up, guys gained confidence."
 
Speaking of last-second shots, Marquette advances to face Butler on Saturday -- a team that beat the Golden Eagles with a last-second 3-pointer at the Maui Invitational in November. 
 
"We've been in games like this all year," Wilson said. "We've never denied the challenge.  So, let's just go through adversity as a team and know we can depend on each other yet again, and we're going to keep doing it and it's us to the end."
 
Said Blue: "If we do it get into another close ballgame with any other team, we'll know how to respond and handle it.  (It) can definitely help us that way.  But, at the same time, it just shows our team this is the NCAA Tournament and nothing is coming easy and if you want to win, you got to take it.  It's all about that."

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"On The Record" is the official blog of Marquette Athletics, maintained by the department's media relations staff. The blog will be the exclusive home for behind-the-scenes access to each of the University's 14 NCAA Division I programs, including daily updates, videos, photos, podcasts and much more.
 
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