for this game

Matthews' big second half lifts Marquette

Feb 1, 2009 - 3:37 AM MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Wesley Matthews scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half as eighth-ranked Marquette remained unbeaten in Big East Conference play Saturday with a 94-82 victory over No. 23 Georgetown.

Sparked by Matthews, Jerel McNeal and Lazar Hayward, who also came up with huge efforts, the surprising Golden Eagles (19-2, 8-0 Big East) remained one of two unbeaten teams along with Louisville in arguably the nation's best conference.

McNeal scored 26 points and Hayward 23 for the Golden Eagles, who ran their winning streak to 11 games. The run has a chance to continue with upcoming games against patsies DePaul and South Florida.

"It was a great game, I am really thankful that it is over," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. "I'm happier that we won."

DaJuan Summers, playing despite a foot injury, scored 22 points to lead the reeling Hoyas (12-8, 3-6), who have dropped five straight and are certain to fall out of the national rankings.

After an exciting and competitive first half, which ended tied at 42-42, the Golden Eagles eventually asserted themselves over the final 20 minutes.

"We are old now. Maturity is helping us so much this season," Matthews said.

"I think 42-42 our freshman year, unless Steve (Novak) goes off for a great game I don't know if we win that. Playing with the poise that we did, attacking when we had to, and we let them shoot 56 percent from the field and we still win by 12, that's just maturity, character and heart."

Hayward's short jumper in the lane at the 14:18 mark snapped a 52-52 tie and triggered a 12-2 spurt which put the Golden Eagles in front for good.

McNeal made a 3-pointer and a layup and Matthews had a steal and fast-break dunk during the decisive burst that sent the Bradley Center into a frenzy.

"As long as we get those big runs, we have a mature enough team that we will be able to sustain the lead throughout the course of the game," said McNeal, who handed out 11 assists. "Our team is so hard to guard in so many different aspects, so many guys can put that pressure on defense, especially coming from behind in the second half."

The Hoyas never were able to slow down the Golden Eagles' guard-oriented offense as the home team gradually pulled away.

"I thought that in the second half we were a much different team, even though the numbers may not reflect it," Williams said. "They still shot 52 percent in the second half and that typically does not trend towards winning the game. But because we were able to outrebound them, which is difficult to do with our roster in comparison to theirs, and we were able to make 30 free throws that changes the complexion of the game."

Matthews, who made 7-of-12 shots, drilled a jumper with just over five minutes left to push the advantage to 78-64.

"They are a very good team on the court with a couple of great players who played like great players," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "Especially in that second half, because in the first half they got some looks but couldn't make them. In the second half, they made tough shot after tough shot. They are playing at a high level right now, especially Jerel (McNeal)."

The Golden Eagles were able to hold the lead with solid performance at the free-throw line, where they went 30-of-38. Georgetown went 8-of-13 at the line.

Chris Wright added 19 points and Greg Monroe 13 for Georgetown, which will try to break its losing streak Tuesday at home against Rutgers.