Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 1/16/12
MILWAUKEE -- It's become something of an expectation at this point for Marquette fans. They watch their Golden Eagles fall behind, almost to the point of hopelessness, only to come storming back, scraping and clawing their way to victory. It hasn't always been the case, as No. 22 Marquette was flat-out dominated in the first half by both Vanderbilt (down by 27 during the first half) and Syracuse (trailed by 23, drew within two with 5:15 to play), games in which the hole was just too deep to escape. But more often than not, especially lately, the Golden Eagles have put together some stunning second half performances. They did it against St. John's last week, shooing 67.7 percent in the second half for a 83-64 victory. It happened again last Saturday when Pitt came to town. Marquette didn't take its first lead until the midway point of the second half in a 62-57 victory. Monday against No. 21 Louisville, the Golden Eagles found themselves following the same script again. Down, 18-2, seven minutes into the game, head coach Buzz Williams -- as he's had to do all too often these days -- called a timeout to help his team regroup. Williams has tried different approaches to snap his team into shape early. He's used the tirade, the lecture, the encouraging approach . . . but when he was faced with a similar situation Monday, he tried a different tactic. "I literally said nothing the entire time," Williams said. Perhaps the silent treatment is the best solution after all. The Golden Eagles stormed back, and closed the half on 32-12 run to take a four-point lead into halftime. They kept on chugging in the second half to close out a 74-63 victory, their fourth in Big East play and 15th overall this season. While you have to admire their grit and tenacity, at the same time, you have to wonder just how good the Golden Eagles could be if they finally found a way to put together a complete game in Big East play. "We have to get out of that," senior guard Darius Johnson-Odom said. "Obviously, it's been working but we don't want to continue that going forward. I don't think anybody has the answer for that." Williams would like to see that happen, sooner rather than later. "I think we played more consecutive minutes of 'us' than we have in Big East play," the Williams said. "I'm very encouraged by that. We've got to figure out how to do that from start to finish. The first seven minutes of the game is certainly not indicative of how we play or how we practice or how we work. But from that point forward, that's much more 'us' and that gives us our best chance for success. "I like our chances when we play (like) 'us'. I can't figure out and I don't have a solution for why we haven't done that at the start." The problems aren't hard to identify. Shots don't fall. The ball doesn't move. Defense is lackluster. Correcting the mistakes hasn't been an issue in the team's practices, walk-throughs or shoot-around sessions. But in game situations . . . that's an entirely different story. "If the games were 33 minutes, we'd be really good," Williams said. "I really like when we are us. When we are us, we're pretty good. When we are not us, we're pretty bad." With five days before their next game -- Saturday at Providence -- the Golden Eagles will try to figure out a way to put together a 40-minute game. And right now, that might be the last step in this team becoming a serious contender in the always-tough Big East. Follow Andrew Wagner on Twitter.
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