No. 11/12 Marquette Outlasts IUPUI 76-68 In Season Opener
Nov. 10, 2007
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Marquette took its time against IUPUI.
Jerel McNeal scored 20 points to lead the No. 11 Golden Eagles to a 76-68 comeback victory over IUPUI on Saturday night in the season opener for both teams.
"I never panicked," Marquette coach Tom Crean said. "We just didn't come with enough energy to start the second half as we needed to. We've got to have more energy to start halves.
"The first half, we were OK. The second half was not as good."
Marquette trailed 48-43 with 13 minutes left after IUPUI used a 17-2 run to erase a 10-point lead for the Golden Eagles shortly after halftime.
Marquette responded with a 23-8 run over the next 9 minutes to seal the victory. IUPUI trailed by one with 8 minutes left, but Wesley Matthews hit a 3-pointer and the Jaguars got no closer than four the rest of the way.
George Hill led the Jaguars with 19 points and Gary Patterson added 15. Billy Pettiford had 14 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds.
"The main thing was just try to focus getting the best shot offensively and trying to move the ball around ... and to get some stops," McNeal said. "Stops and rebounds, we weren't getting enough."
Marquette fell behind 10-4 early but led 39-31 at halftime.
A basket by James made it 41-31 before IUPUI went on its run. Hill scored seven points during the spurt, but he picked up his fourth foul with 15 minutes left and fouled out in the closing seconds.
Marquette made 8-of-9 free throws in the final 22 seconds to seal it.
"We just have to learn how, when we get somebody down, to keep them down," Crean said. "We built our lead in the second half, and then we let them come right back. We've got to learn how to stop that."
Hill was playing in his first game since last December. He averaged 18.9 points per game in 2005-06 but played in just five games last season after breaking his foot in the second game of the year.
Still, Hill was named the Summit League's preseason player of the year this season.
"We could have folded when George Hill got his fourth," Jaguars coach Ron Hunter said. "The kids did a really good job of just hanging in there. I would have loved to see how the game would have played out if he hadn't got the fourth, if we could have just kept rolling."