Posted March 24, 2013 on AP on Fox
Butler was doing the things against Marquette that usually turn out well for the Bulldogs. They made outside shots, played good defense and made few mistakes. Most importantly, Butler had created a final opportunity to win a close game and seemed to have the right play designed to do it. But the Bulldogs couldn't even get a good look in the final seconds, leaving them with 74-72 loss that knocked them from the NCAA tournament on Saturday night. Andrew Smith took an off-balance 3 from up top that was way off, slamming into the backboard and setting off another Marquette celebration. ''We were trying to get a look for a 3,'' Butler guard Alex Barlow said of the final shot. ''If that wasn't open, we had options off of that. Marquette did a great job guarding it and unfortunately Andrew was unable to make the shot.'' Then again, a lot of things didn't go as planned in a game that seemed to be following the Bulldogs' plan for 20 minutes. A defense that held Marquette to just 7 of 27 shooting in the first half couldn't seem to stop the Golden Eagles after that, allowing 16 of 27 field goals that wiped out a 35-27 halftime lead. ''The difference in the game was the level of pressure they put on us in the second half and certainly the shots they made,'' Bulldogs coach Brad Stevens said. ''They had a few I didn't think were going in that bounced in.'' And while Butler shot a solid 48 percent (13 of 27) after the break and 24 of 56 overall, it didn't get the looks it wanted at the right time. Rotnei Clarke was most affected by the shift, making just two 3-pointers in the second half after controlling the game with 18 in the first and three makes from beyond the arc. Stevens' Bulldogs, who reached the championship game in 2010 and `11, won't make the second weekend this year. ''You can control some things, you can't control others,'' Stevens said. ''We're going to go back and wish we controlled a few things little bit better. ... We talk about all the close wins ... but the only commercial I ever see is a close loss, Butler vs. Duke (in the 2010 championship). ''We've been here before, we've lived it. And we'll move on.'' Marquette's Vander Blue took control of the game, scoring 19 of his 29 points in the second half, including the game-tying 3-pointer with 1:25 left. The Golden Eagles survived some last-minute drama to reach the round of 16 for the third consecutive year. ''He's had 50 in two games on us,'' Stevens said. ''That's pretty unique. Not many guys have gotten 50 in two games against Butler. ''He's just a hard guy to stop. ... His speed is a separator.'' This could be the start of quite a rivalry. Next year, Butler joins the new Big East with Marquette. Both teams succeeded to an extent in a fast-paced first 10 minutes, with Marquette moving the ball around to get the two-point baskets it thrives on. The movement worked so well for the Golden Eagles that Wilson - Thursday's other hero - and Lockett were open for 3-pointers, and made them. Butler hit 3 of 17 from 3 in an opening win against Bucknell, but the Bulldogs found their range against Marquette. Clarke made three of Butler's seven 3-pointers in the first half. Long shots came in handy since the Bulldogs struggled from elsewhere. They were 4 of 16 on 2-pointers. Butler was still better than Marquette (7 of 27), which finished the first half frustrated by the Bulldogs' defense that contested everything near the basket. During one 40-second sequence before the break the Golden Eagles missed five straight shots including one from outside, sending them to the locker room trailing 35-27. Blue's 3-pointer soon after the break was part of his 10 points during a 21-14 run that got Marquette within 49-48. He later scored consecutive baskets off turnovers to give the Golden Eagles a 60-58 with 7:07 left, their first lead since early in the game.

Blue had 50 points in two games vs. Butler

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Butler coach Brad Stevens is a statistical genius. So when he says that not many players have scored 50 points against his team in just two games, he's probably right. Marquette guard Vander Blue has reached that mark against the Bulldogs this season, including scoring 29 in Saturday night's 74-72 Marquette victory at Rupp Arena to advance to the Sweet...

Vander leaves Butler Blue

“Back to the old grind” is a summary of Marquette basketball under Buzz Williams.  When the Golden Eagles are nearly pushed off the perch, Williams and Marquette find a way to make sure they are find a way to win and stay alive for the next game. In Saturday night’s 74-72 surpassing of the gritty Butler Bulldogs, the Golden Eagles once again found a way as they had in the...

Marquette survives Butler in thriller

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Vander Blue scored 19 second-half points to rally third-seeded Marquette out of another hole, and the Golden Eagles survived No. 6 Butler 74-72 on Saturday to reach the Round of 16. Like November's first meeting between the teams at the Maui Invitational, won 72-71 by Butler on Rotnei Clarke's buzzer-beating 3-pointer, this was a back-and-forth, high...

Marquette withstands Butler, advances

Vander Blue scored 19 second-half points to rally third-seeded Marquette out of another hole, and the Golden Eagles survived No. 6 Butler 74-72 on Saturday to reach the Round of 16. Like November's first meeting between the teams at the Maui Invitational, won 72-71 by Butler on Rotnei Clarke's buzzer-beating 3-pointer, this was a back-and-forth, high-intensity affair, that...

March Madness Update: Poor, Poor Davidson

I have to feel for Davidson a little bit. These guys deserved too win against Marquette Thursday, but it just wasn't meant to be. With a minute and a half left the Wildcats were up by seven 53-46 when it all went wrong. It wasn' t like Davidson threw up a lot of bricks; they just didn't get any shots and Marquette did. Vander Blue had seven of his 16 points in the...

Marquette vs. Miami: It's a dance off

Shane Larkin going head-to-head with Vander Blue? How about Davante Gardner and Kenny Kadji squaring off? Miami and Marquette will have some fun on-the-court match-ups when the two schools square off in the Sweet 16 in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, but let's forget about that for a few minutes and focus on which coach is a better dancer. Miami coach Jim Larranaga and Marquette...

Marquette defines survive and advance

The Marquette Golden Eagles are the worst three-point shooting team in the tournament as they came in at 30.1% on the season.  Getting out played by Davidson and trailing the Wildcats throughout the second half Thursday afternoon, a bleakness pervaded the Marquette sideline as they tailed DC by six before Jamil Wilson nailed two triples and Vander Blue made another to cut the Wildcats’...

March Madness Update: Marquette Squeaks by Butler

There were a lot of blowouts on Saturday, but fans got to see one game go down to the wire early in the day between the Butler Bulldogs and Marquette Golden Eagles. Butler took an eight point lead into the half, but Marquette steadily chipped away at it in the second half until a layup by Vander Blue tied the game up at 58-58 with roughly 7:30 left to play. The game stayed...

NCAA Tourney’s biggest winners and losers

Sixteen teams remain in this year’s NCAA tournament, which means we’ve had plenty of winners and losers over the course of the first two rounds. But who has won or lost the most? Here’s a region-by-region look at the best and worst the tournament has had to offer so far. EAST Biggest Winner: Marquette. The Golden Eagles were toast against Davidson in the first round. Then...

A Fun Opening Day

In a day of upsets and near epic upsets, Harvard’s was the best as the #14 Crimson knocked off #3 New Mexico, 68-62. What a day for Tommy Amaker’s bunch. Harvard has had three visits to the NCAAs, all-time, and this is their first win. Davidson nearly matched the feat, as the SoCon champs took Marquette to the absolute wire. Marquette made a tremendous rally but Davidson coughed...

Still Dancin the Golden Buzzsaw

CCWriter has always been quite the Homer for all of our Wisconsin teams, it is really the reason the exists.  I do admit my typical admiration probably favors the Badgers over the Golden Eagles, but that stems from my days at the currently irrelevant UWM Panthers.  Obviously the former Warriors always received far greater attention than UWM so naturally some rival relations...
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