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James lifts Marquette over Valparaiso

Nov 28, 2006 - 3:22 AM VALPARAISO, Indiana (Ticker) -- Dominic James was having one of the worst nights of his career until his team needed him most.

James scored Marquette's final 18 points, including the winning 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds to play, to lift the ninth-ranked Golden Eagles to a 65-62 victory over upset-minded Valparaiso.

The reigning Big East Rookie of the Year, James hit his only four field goals in the final seven minutes, including two huge shots from the arc in the final 37 seconds to keep Marquette (7-0) undefeated.

"I didn't have a great first half," James said. "I just kind of got in the zone and went from there. When the time comes, I'm going to try and make plays."

The 5-11 sophomore finished with 22 points on 4-of-13 shooting, but he made 11-of-13 free throws and scored 10 points in the final 1:50.

"You have to give James credit," Valparaiso coach Homer Drew said. "He is an All-American candidate and he really showed you why. He made and earned those shots."

That he did. James was in a 1-for-10 rut from the field when the Crusaders went ahead, 57-55, on a 3-pointer by Brandon McPherson with 2:30 to play.

After James hit two free throws and Shawn Huff answered with a jumper to keep it tied at 59-59, Marquette's leading scorer from last season buried a 3-pointer with 37 seconds to play for a 62-59 lead.

Valparaiso (3-2) came right back with the equalizer when Jarryd Loyd connected from the arc with 21 seconds to go.

The Golden Eagles called a timeout with 13 seconds to go and set up a shot for James, who nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 3.4 seconds to go.

"We changed defenses again and we were trying to get James to have two people on him," Drew said. "He hit a deep shot, he earned that shot. What we were hoping he would do is try to make a pass and if he did, we were ready to gamble for the steal."

James' winning bucket quelled a valiant comeback by the Crusaders.

Valparaiso trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half and 31-24 at the break, but used a 12-0 run to take a 44-40 lead with 12:50 to play.

Wesley Matthews scored five straight points to spark a 9-0 spurt that put Marquette ahead, 49-44. The run was capped by two free throws by James, who scored the rest of his team's points.

Also in double figures for the Golden Eagles was Matthews with 11 points and Jerel McNeal and Ousmane Barro with 10 apiece.

Shawn Huff scored 22 points and Loyd added 11 for the Crusaders.

"I'm very proud of our basketball team," Drew said. "I thought the last four minutes they played with great heart and great togetherness."

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