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Matthews' deep shooting leads Marquette over South Florida

Jan 30, 2008 - 6:47 AM MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- With Lazar Hayward holding down the inside, Wesley Matthews stepped up on the outside to secure another win over South Florida.

Matthews connected on three 3-pointers inside the final five minutes as No. 16 Marquette continued its unbeaten run at home with a 62-54 victory over the Bulls in the Big East Conference on Tuesday.

Hayward had a career-high 23 points and eight rebounds and Matthews scored 16 for the Golden Eagles (15-4, 5-3 Big East), who beat the Bulls for the 14th time in 16 all-time meetings.

"It was a tough fight throughout the game, and it always is with South Florida," Marquette coach Tom Crean said. "I think that is very indicative of how tough this league is right now that they sit were they sit with their record and yet they are in there tooth and nail."

With Hayward coming up big in the paint, Matthews took advantage of any openings that arose, especially late with the contest on the line.

After South Florida freshman Dominique Jones split two free throws to tie the game at 42-42, Matthews went on a tear from deep, knocking down the first of three straight 3-pointers.

"He makes those shots in practice and tonight that performance carried over to the game," Crean said.

The Bulls took another big blow when leading scorer and rebounder Kentrell Gransberry fouled out with 4:06 remaining.

Dwight Burke split two foul shots for a 46-43 edge after that game-changing foul, and Matthews followed with his second two shots from the arc to make it a nine-point cushion with 2:59 to play.

"Until the four-minute mark, I thought we had a chance, a chance to maybe steal something out of here," South Florida coach Stan Heath said. "There were a couple of things that happened that hit hard. Losing Gransberry, losing Dominique (Jones) to foul trouble. Once they were gone that affected our offense.

"At the same time, Matthews stepped up, hitting those two big threes."

Hayward, who finished 7-of-13 from the field and 8-of-9 from the stripe, completed a three-point play with 2:03 left for a 55-45 advantage.

"He did a lot of great things, he was on the floor for 30 minutes and that's what we want," Crean said about Hayward. "When he is in foul trouble we are not as good a team."

Matthews finished 4-of-4 from the arc en route to scoring in double figures in his fifth straight game.

"I felt good, coach never told me to stop shooting," the junior guard said. "It was just a matter of shooting with confidence, I was open and I just let it go."

With the win, Marquette improved to 12-0 at home despite leading scorer Dominic James being held to just three points on 1-of-7 shooting.

In all, James played just 19 minutes, with Crean stating that the junior guard was bothered by an upset stomach.

"He was sick to his stomach right before the game," Crean said.

Gransberry, who entered eighth in the Big East in scoring (17.1 ppg) and first in rebounding (10.8 rpg), had 15 points and 15 rebounds.

Jones also had 15 points before fouling out for South Florida (10-11, 1-7), which shot 34 percent (15-of-44) in losing its seventh straight game.