McNeal Leads Marquette to 61-58 Victory Over Wisconsin

Dec. 6, 2008

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jerel McNeal scored a season-high 26 points, leading No. 25 Marquette on a second-half comeback to beat in-state rival Wisconsin 61-58 on Saturday night.

McNeal scored 19 of his points in the second half, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 5:26 left. Marquette (7-1) survived a late 3-pointer and layup by Wisconsin's Trevon Hughes and some shaky free-throw shooting of its own to hold on in the final minutes.

Hughes scored 14 to lead Wisconsin (6-2), which came into Saturday's game unranked after a recent lopsided loss to Connecticut. But the Badgers had momentum after beating Virginia Tech on Hughes' last-second layup Monday night.

Hughes' 3-pointer cut Marquette's lead to 58-54 with 1:20 left in the game. An errant Marquette pass then dribbled out of bounds to Wisconsin, but the Badgers' Joe Krabbenhoft stepped on the baseline on the other end to give the ball back to Marquette.

Lazar Hayward hit one of two free throws, but Hughes hit a layup to cut the lead to 59-56 with 25.9 seconds left. Maurice Acker and Hayward each hit only one of their two free throw attempts in the final 22 seconds, but the Golden Eagles held on to win.

Marquette trailed 33-27 at the half. But with Hughes in foul trouble and sitting out early in the second half, Marquette went on a 12-5 run to tie the game at 46 with just over 10 minutes left in the game — with all 12 points coming from McNeal.

The Golden Eagles had a chance to take the lead after a steal by Dominic James, but Hayward was called for an offensive foul on an aggressive drive to the basket.

McNeal later hit a 3-pointer to put Marquette ahead 52-49 — the Golden Eagles' first lead since the 13-minute mark of the first half.

Hayward then scored on a putback, and Badgers coach Bo Ryan called a timeout. Moments later, Hughes lost the ball and Marquette called a timeout in the scrum — and Hughes fouled McNeal on the other end, allowing the Golden Eagles to extend their lead to 56-49.

Marcus Landry then hit a layup at the 2:18 mark, breaking a six-minute scoreless streak for the Badgers. But the Badgers didn't have another Virginia Tech-style comeback in them.

Wisconsin has won seven of the team's last 11 meetings, but Marquette has won two straight. Wisconsin leads the all-time series between the two schools 62-53.

Wisconsin led by as many as 10 with 6:55 left in the first half, but Marquette closed the half with an 8-3 run.

The Badgers, who average just over 22 free-throw attempts per game, shot only four free throws in the first half to Marquette's 11. But Wisconsin outshot Marquette 48 percent to 39 percent in the first half. For the game, Marquette shot 23 free throws to Wisconsin's 13.





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