for this game

McNeal, Marquette race past Pittsburgh

Feb 16, 2008 - 6:21 AM MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Marquette's fast pace was too much for Pittsburgh to keep up with.

Jerel McNeal scored 17 points and Ousmane Barro had 14 and 12 rebounds as No. 25 Marquette blew past the 24th-ranked Panthers, 72-54, in a Big East Conference matchup on Friday.

David Cubillan scored 13 points off the bench and point guard Dominic James had a career-high 12 assists without a turnover for the Golden Eagles, who shot 49 percent (28-of-57).

Marquette has now won two straight contests after a two-game skid.

"Our guys have had such a great mind set since the loss at Notre Dame," Marquette coach Tom Crean told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "We took it to Seton Hall, and then we brought it back here. We knew we were going to have to play an outstanding game to beat Pittsburgh."

The victory spoiled the return of Pittsburgh guard Levance Fields, who had missed 12 games with a broken left foot. The junior scored just four points on 1-of-7 shooting in 20 minutes.

The Golden Eagles broke open a close game late in the first half, outscoring the Panthers, 12-4, over the final 6:29 to take a 33-24 advantage at the break. Cubillan made consecutive 3-pointers in the final two minutes to help establish Marquette's cushion.

Marquette (18-6, 8-5 Big East) continued its momentum and turned up the pace early in the second half, using a 17-0 run to take a commanding 54-28 lead with 12:55 left to play. Pittsburgh was held scoreless for over 6 1/2 minutes as McNeal scored six points and James assisted on four baskets during the spurt.

"I was disappointed in our performance," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon told the newspaper. "We really got beaten in every facet. It really got away from us about the 15-minute mark of the (second) half."

The Panthers (19-6, 7-5), who made only 1-of-11 shots from the arc, never got closer than 16 the rest of the way as the Golden Eagles cruised to the finish.

The Golden Eagles outscored the Panthers, 38-24, in the paint and handed Pittsburgh its worst conference loss since Dixon took over as coach five seasons ago.

Sam Young scored 18 points to lead Pittsburgh, which has lost its last four regular-season meetings with Marquette.