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Marra powers Louisville over Marquette

Mar 11, 2011 - 7:04 AM New York, NY (Sports Network) - Mike Marra drilled six three-pointers and finished with 22 points, powering No. 14 Louisville to an 81-56 victory over Marquette in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals.

Marra carried an average of 6.2 points per game into Thursday's contest, but provided a big spark off the bench for the third-seeded Cardinals (24-8), who will face Notre Dame in the semifinals on Friday.

Preston Knowles finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Louisville, which was coming off a loss to West Virginia in its regular season finale.

"We played great defense tonight and highly, highly intelligent offense of sharing the basketball and hitting the open man," said Louisville head coach Rick Pitino.

Jimmy Butler had 14 points and six boards for the 11th-seeded Golden Eagles (20-14), who had defeated Providence and WVU in the opening two rounds of the tourney.

"If you don't guard the ball, teams are going to shoot open sides," said Marquette head coach Buzz Williams. "When you play major teams, they're going to have guys that can make threes. We didn't guard the ball well tonight."

Marquette got off to a hot start, taking an 11-2 lead after Jae Crowder drilled a three nearly four minutes in.

But Louisville quickly pulled even thanks to three-point shooting. Marra drained his first before Kyle Kuric hit from beyond the arc. Another Marra make tied the game, and he connected again with 12:48 left to give the Cardinals a 14-13 edge.

The game was back-and-forth over the next few minutes until Louisville went on a 9-1 run. Kuric's three with 6:43 to go ended the rally and gave the Cardinals a 25-18 advantage.

Louisville stretched its lead to 36-26 with 1:41 on the clock, when Kuric made his third and final three-pointer, but Marquette scored the final five points of the half.

The Golden Eagles stayed within single digits in the opening minutes of the second half before Louisville expanded the margin with another 9-1 burst.

Marra provided all of the Cardinals' points with a trio of threes -- his sixth make of the game made it a 51-37 contest with 13 minutes to go. Louisville, which shot 55 percent in the second half, led by double digits the rest of the way.

Game Notes

Darius Johnson-Odom had 13 points for Marquette, while Crowder ended with 10...The Golden Eagles shot 30 percent...Peyton Siva had eight points and nine assists for the Cardinals, while Terrence Jennings had 12 points and Kuric 11. Chris Smith pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.