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Marquette gets by Idaho State in overtime

Nov 14, 2006 - 3:39 AM MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Marquette finally found someone who could make a free throw.

Ousmane Barro hit two foul shots with 29 seconds left in overtime as the 17th-ranked Golden Eagles averted a stunning upset with a 59-56 victory over Idaho State in the CBE Classic.

It was the second straight close call for Marquette (2-0), which had to rally from a four-point halftime deficit to defeat Division II Hillsdale College in its season opener on Friday.

"This was a night where we were not playing very good yet, and the team we were playing had a great game and shot very well," Golden Eagles coach Tom Crean said. "The key to any club is that you never know if your shot decision and making free throws are going with you to a game, but you always have to have a defensive and rebounding mind-set, and that's what won us the game."

Dominic James scored 19 points for the Golden Eagles, who made just 16-of-31 shots at the stripe. Marquette also missed 11 fouls in its opener against Hillsdale.

"A win is a win," said James, last season's Big East Rookie of the Year. "We will take it anyway we can get it. You can win in any fashion and that's what we did tonight.

"We don't give up when our back is against the wall. We show that we are here to keep playing and we stay within ourselves and keep fighting. Our team showed a lot of character tonight to keep fighting until the end of the game and we got the win."

The Golden Eagles did come up big on the defensive end, limiting the Bengals to just one basketball in the final five minutes of regulation and one 3-pointer in overtime.

Despite shooting a dreadful 29 percent (19-of-65) from the floor, Marquette had 12 steals - six by sophomore Jerel McNeal - and forced 24 turnovers.

Akbar Abdul-Ahad scored 17 points to lead Idaho State (0-1), which led by as many as eight points in the second half and took a 53-50 lead on David Schroeder's 3-pointer with 55 seconds left in regulation.

Marquette closed within a point on Wesley Matthews' follow shot and had a chance to win in regulation, but Dan Fitzgerald made just 1-of-2 free throws to send it into overtime.

James, the leading returning scorer in the Big East, buried a 3-pointer 30 seconds into the overtime session for a 56-53 lead, but Abdul-Ahad responded with one from the arc to tie it with 50 seconds left.

Barro, who also had a carer-high nine rebounds, then hit his two foul shots, James added one and Marquette survived a half-court heave from Abdul-Ahad to prevail.

At the end of the day, it's a win," McNeal said. "We had a rough night tonight offensively. We did a really good job on defense, especially at the end causing turnovers. Our team found out about character in this situations; it was good for us.

"We are not putting pressure on ourselves. We expect so much out of each other that we don't consider it pressure."

Marquette plays Detroit on Tuesday night in a second-round game of the CBE Classic.

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