for this game

Matthews, McNeal lead No. 20 Marquette to fifth straight win

Jan 25, 2007 - 5:24 AM MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Clutch shooting by Wesley Matthews and Jerel McNeal made Marquette coach Tom Crean rest easy.

Matthews scored 22 points and collected 10 assists and McNeal tied a career high with 22 points to lead No. 20 Marquette to an 89-76 victory over Seton Hall in a Big East Conference clash.

The Golden Eagles (18-4, 5-2 Big East) won their fifth consecutive Big East contest for the first time and stayed one game behind of Pittsburgh for first place in the conference standings. The Panthers posted a 67-51 victory at Cincinnati on Wednesday.

"Everyone that is playing is contributing because everyone is working hard in practice," Crean said. "(There) is still lots of room for improvement, but we are winning while we improve."

"This win is huge for us," McNeal said. "We started off slow and we had a lot of doubters. Coach kept the confidence in us and now the thing is to keep it rolling. We need to keep getting the big wins on the road."

After Paul Gause hit a 3-pointer to give Seton Hall a 10-9 lead just 4:51 into the contest, Marquette went on a 13-2 run over the next five minutes. Dominic James scored seven points, including a basket from the arc, and Matthews added four.

Coming off a season-high 14-point outing Sunday at Pittsburgh, Dan Fitzgerald hit consecutive 3-pointers later in the half for the Golden Eagles, who shot 57 percent (16-of-28) from the floor to take a 43-30 lead at the break.

Matthews scored seven points early in the second half - highlighted by a three-point play - and McNeal added a pair of layups as Marquette widened the margin to 57-38 with 15:23 remaining.

"We are the type of team where we want to play more of an up-tempo style of game," McNeal said. "When they started pressing, we did a great job of breaking through and scoring."

The Pirates (11-8, 3-4) chipped away, cutting the deficit to 68-63 when Eugene Harvey capped an 18-6 burst by drilling a 3-pointer with 8:59 to play. However, McNeal scored seven in a 19-7 spurt to give the Golden Eagles an 87-70 advantage with 1:36 left.

"Our confidence level has always been high," McNeal said. "We had a lead of double-digits and they cut it to five. You have to play humble but confident at the same time."

Ousmane Barro scored 13 points and James, the reigning two-time Big East Player of the Week, added 11 for Marquette, which shot 58 percent (33-of-57) for the contest.

"It was a good night for everyone offensively," Matthews said. "Everyone was getting good looks and we had four guys in double figures. ... We are not just swinging the ball out on the perimeter and shooting. We are getting good shots."

"Outside of a few stretches defensively, I think our guys are doing really well with it," Crean said. "They come to compete, come to win."

Jamar Nutter scored 18 points and Harvey had 14 for Seton Hall, which has dropped three of its last four.








  • NCAA BB
    FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
    --- --- -----
    SETON HALL 30 46 76
    MARQUETTE (20) 43 46 89 FINAL

    Jan 24 10:02 PM


  • NCAA BB
    SETON HALL VS MARQUETTE (20)
    HIGH SCORERS AT HALFTIME
    SETON HALL - JOHN GARCIA 8
    MARQUETTE - DOMINIC JAMES 9, JEREL MCNEAL 9

    Jan 24 8:52 PM