No. 14 Marquette downs VillanovaJan 1, 2012 - 10:38 PM Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Darius Johnson-Odom scored 24 points and Davante Gardner added 13 with 10 rebounds, as 14th-ranked Marquette opened its Big East season with an 81-77 victory over Villanova at the Bradley Center.
Todd Mayo and Jamil Wilson each chipped in 11 points for Marquette (12-2, 1-0 Big East), which was coming off a 74-57 home loss to Vanderbilt on Thursday in its final non-conference game of the season. The Eagles will face a pair of tough road tests in the upcoming week with games against Georgetown and Syracuse.
"I thought our guys' response from the debacle on Thursday was outstanding," said Marquette head coach Buzz Williams. "I thought we played with great energy... pleased from top to bottom."
Mouphtaou Yarou scored 14 points to lead Villanova (7-7, 0-2), which dropped its Big East opener at West Virginia on Wednesday and has lost its first two conference games for the first time since the 2006-07 season. The Wildcats have lost seven of their last 10 after opening the campaign with four wins.
Villanova trailed by double digits throughout most of the second half, but a three-pointer by Achraf Yacoubou with just under two minutes left pulled the Wildcats within 73-68.
Junior Cadougan made two from the line for the Eagles, but he missed a pair with 27 seconds remaining to keep Villanova alive. Trailing by five, Villanova's JayVaughn Pinkston stepped out of bounds while receiving a pass in the corner and Wilson made one from the line to give Marquette a six-point edge with 16 seconds to play.
After a tip-in by Maurice Sutton trimmed Villanova's deficit to four, Cadougan was good on two from the line to seal it. A bucket by Yarou at the buzzer accounted for the final margin.
Pinkston finished with 13 points in defeat, while Maalik Wayns and Darrun Hilliard each scored 12. Four Wildcats -- Wayns, Hilliard, Dominic Cheek and Ty Johnson -- fouled out of the contest.
Poor free throw shooting by Marquette kept Villanova in the game. The Eagles made just 23-of-37 from the line.
Marquette never trailed and opened some early breathing room with a 9-2 run. Johnson-Odom ignited it with a three-pointer and added a bucket moments later for a 14-6 lead. He drained threes on back-to-back possessions midway through the first half to extend the advantage to 25-14.
The Marquette advantage was nine a few minutes later, but Villanova clawed back with an 8-2 burst. Cheek scored the first six for the Wildcats before a jumper by Wayns made it a 34-31 game with 2:46 remaining in the half. Villanova got as close as one, but Cadougan's layup in the waning seconds sent Marquette to the intermission with a 40-37 edge.
Villanova came out cold in the second half and Marquette took advantage. Jae Crowder contributed seven points to a 9-0 run that gave the Eagles a 49-37 cushion. The margin reached 15 with just over 13 minutes remaining when Johnson-Odom buried another three-pointer for a 61-46 lead.
"Marquette really did a great job at the beginning of the second half," noted Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "That jump at the beginning of the second half was bit too much to overcome."
Villanova shot 43.8 percent overall, but made just 3-of-17 three-point attempts...Johnson-Odom scored 16 first-half points...Crowder finished the contest with nine points and Cadougan had six with assists...Villanova still leads the all-time series, 11-8...The Wildcats return home to face South Florida on Thursday.
- VILLANOVA: 77
Jan 1 3:25 PM
- VILLANOVA: 37
Jan 1 1:54 PM
- VILLANOVA: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Jan 1 1:02 PM
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