MU To Face Louisville In BIG EAST Tourney Quarterfinals
March 7, 2012
The Marquette University men's basketball team (25-6, 14-4 BIG EAST) has earned its first-ever double bye in the BIG EAST Conference Men's Basketball Championship presented by American Eagle Outfitters and will face Louisville for a 6 p.m. CT matchup Thursday night on ESPN in Madison Square Garden. ESPN will feature Marquette's 19th national television broadcast of the campaign, with Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analyst) and Bill Raftery (analyst) calling the action. Beth Mowins will serve as the sideline reporter.
MU Hoping To Continue BIG EAST Tourney Success
Since Marquette joined the league in 2005-06, only the Golden Eagles and Pittsburgh have reached at least the quarterfinals of the league tourney every season.
Thanks to its best-ever BIG EAST finish in 2011-12, MU has already earned a spot in the quarterfinals and will be looking to advance to the semifinals for the third time (lost to Pittsburgh in 2007-08 and Georgetown in 2009-10). Marquette is 8-6 all-time in its previous six appearances in the event, claiming at least one win every year except 2006.
Marquette has posted an overall record of 20-21 in league tourneys since joining the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (MCC) in 1989-90. MU was 0-2 in the MCC, 2-4 in the Great Midwest Conference and 10-9 in Conference USA.
Crowder, Johnson-Odom Named All-BIG EAST First Team
Crowder, a 6-6 senior, was the only unanimous selection. He teamed with Johnson-Odom to lead Marquette to a second-place finish in the regular season with a 14-4 record. They were the highest scoring duo in the BIG EAST. In league games, Johnson-Odom finished second in the BIG EAST, averaging 18.9 points per game while Crowder finished fourth at 18.0. Crowder also averaged 8.3 rebounds in conference play and tied for first in the league in steals with a 2.9 mark.
Since Marquette joined conference affiliation in 1989-90 (Midwestern Collegiate Conference), the program has never had two players named to the first team in the same season. With the latest accolades for Crowder and Johnson-Odom, MU now owns 13 all-time first-team honorees.
Gardner Productive In Long-Awaited Return
Sophomore forward Davante Gardner missed eight games after suffering a sprained left knee in the Jan. 28 victory at Villanova, but was effective in his return Saturday afternoon against Georgetown.
In 15 minutes off the bench, Gardner finished with eight points and eight rebounds on 3-of-5 shooting from the floor. He also knocked down a pair of free throws and four of his boards came at the offensive end.
Prior to his injury, Gardner had assumed the starting center position vacated with the season-ending injury to junior Chris Otule on Dec. 6. Sophomore Jamil Wilson was inserted into the starting five following the injury to Gardner.
Crowder Looking To Join Exclusive Club At MU
Following Saturday afternoon's 26-point effort in the victory against Georgetown, senior Jae Crowder (982 points) is poised to join the exclusive 1,000-point club at Marquette.
When he reaches the mark, Crowder will be the 44th player in school history to net 1,000 points, but just the fifth in the 95 years of the program to accomplish the feat in two seasons.
The other MU players to reach 1,000 points in two seasons were: George Thompson (1966-68 - 1,187), Dean Meminger (1968-70 - 1,021), Dwyane Wade (2001-03 - 1,281) and Darius Johnson-Odom (2009-11 - 1,026).