Wilson's Elite Performance Helps MU Reach NCAA East Regional Final

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By Chris Jenkins
Marquette Senior Writer
WASHINGTON -- Somebody forgot to tell Jamil Wilson that Marquette typically doesn't shoot like that from outside.
Wilson scored a team-high 16 points in Thursday night's monumental NCAA Sweet 16 victory over Miami, hitting 5 of 9 from the field and 3 of 4 from 3-point range. 
With those big shots, Wilson added a new dimension to a team not exactly known for 3-pointers. And this time, the Golden Eagles didn't even have to sweat it out in the final seconds.
"I think that it's great," Wilson said. "It's fantastic. It feels good not to have to worry about, are you going to lose on a last-second shot or are you going to win on a last-second shot, to have a cushion like that."
Already leading 29-16 at the half, Wilson helped Marquette keep the game under control in the first five minutes coming out of halftime. 
His jumper at the 17:22 mark made the score 34-19 -- and then he hit a critical 3-pointer in traffic a few minutes later, giving the Golden Eagles a 41-23 lead with 15:00 left in the game. Wilson was mobbed by teammates heading into a timeout, with Trent Lockett practically putting him in a headlock.
Miami tried to make a late run to erase a big deficit, but Marquette never seemed to be in serious danger of blowing the lead.
"These guys played with tremendous heart and we did it all game," Wilson said. "From start to finish we felt like we had to keep pushing, so we didn't let up and they would get back in the game. And as you saw in the last two minutes, they were knocking them down. And if we would have let up in the game, it could have easily gone the other way."
Wilson traced Marquette's tenacity back to the grueling "boot camp" that Buzz Williams uses to help players get ready for the season. 
"Boot camp is not really something you can explain in words," Wilson said. "But you can say a whole lot of shoes squeaking, a whole lot of yelling, some guys falling."
Added Vander Blue: "A lot of barfing."
Marquette played smart, too, as team-wide defensive communication and reaction allowed the Golden Eagles to keep a lid on the shooters Miami tried to free up with ball screens. The Golden Eagles held the Hurricanes to 6-for-29 shooting in the first half and 22-for-63 for the game.
Now comes an Elite Eight appearance on Saturday, Marquette's first since its 2003 Final Four run.
Williams traces to run back to Marquette's Big East tournament loss to Notre Dame, saying that "getting whipped" by the Irish "re-centered us emotionally" going into the NCAAs.
"I do think that we're playing pretty good," Williams said. "That doesn't mean we're going to win on Saturday, but to get to that point, obviously you have to play well."

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