Marquette Tops Villanova, 80-67

Feb. 19, 2007

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MILWAUKEE (AP) - As far as Lazar Hayward was concerned, it was about time.

The freshman scored a career-high 18 points to lead No. 16 Marquette to an 80-67 victory over Villanova on Monday night.

Hayward, who entered the game averaging six points per game, had 13 in the first half before fouling out late in the second.

"Guys were making fun of me how it was about time I start playing this way," said Hayward, who was 5-for-7 from the floor. "I can't let this be a one-hit wonder."

Dominic James added 18 points and Wesley Matthews had 16 points for the Golden Eagles (22-7, 9-5 Big East), who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Marquette made all 16 of its free throws in the final 5:58 of the game. Matthews was 12-for-12 from the line.

For the game, Marquette shot 31-35 (88.6 percent) from the foul line. The team entered the game with a 64.2 shooting percentage, 15th out of 16 Big East teams.

"They've been struggling shooting free throws, but they were drilling them," Villanova coach Jay Wright said.

Scottie Reynolds scored 25 points for Villanova (18-9, 6-7), which lost its second straight game.

"If there's a better freshman guard in the country, I'm not sure who it is," Marquette coach Tom Crean said of Reynolds.

Curtis Sumpter added 14 points for the Wildcats, whose last four losses have come against Top 25 teams.

"You're going to lose some games," Sumpter said. "You can't worry about that. You've got to focus on your next game."

Mike Nardi made two free throws to cut Marquette's lead to 70-64 with 2:24 remaining, but Villanova scored just three points, all on free throws, the rest of the way.

The Wildcats missed three straight 3-pointers and Marquette made all 11 of its free throws in the final 1:29.

"We just go through droughts where we can't score," Wright said after watching his team shoot 6-19 (31.6 percent) from the floor in the second half. "We just struggle. We get hot early. It just becomes too many droughts in a game. And we just can't get out of it.

"Usually when that happens, we're playing pretty good teams, too."

James' 3-pointer with 4:51 left capped a 9-1 run and gave Marquette a 64-52 lead. Villanova cut the deficit to 66-59 on a 3-pointer by Nardi with 3:52 remaining. It was the first field goal in 5:59 for the Wildcats, who were 10-for-11 from the free-throw line during the drought.

Hayward's jumper with 10:12 remaining capped a 12-3 run that gave Marquette a 53-44 lead.

In the first half, Reynolds scored 12 of Villanova's 14 points during one stretch, and his 3-pointer gave his team a 26-17 lead with 9:25 left. But Marquette, playing Villanova in Milwaukee for the first time since Dec. 10, 1967, managed to force a 33-33 halftime score.




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