NCAA Division I Sports
NCAA Division I Sports
Cut off the head and eventually the body dies.
That's the strategy Marquette University used in its 64-46 victory in the nightcap of the Pepsi Blue and Gold Classic on Friday night at the Bradley Center, shutting down hot-shooting Jimmy Boykin after his fast start then snuffing out Coppin State with a strong second-half performance.
Led by junior guard Dwyane Wade's game-high 24 points and seven rebounds in 33 minutes, the Golden Eagles (2-0) earned a berth in the championship game of their tournament for the 35th consecutive year. They'll face Texas-San Antonio at 8 tonight for the title.
Boykin, a 6-foot-7 junior forward from Jackson, Miss., scorched the nets for 18 points in the first 12 minutes 47 seconds, including a 4-for-4 effort from three-point range, as Coppin State (0-1) hung tough in the opening 20 minutes.
Using a variety of screens, he was able to get himself open time after time and made all seven of his shots. His three-pointer from the right wing with 7:13 left pulled Coppin State to within 26-24 after they had trailed, 24-17, just minutes earlier.
Another three, this time by 5-9 freshman Labeeb Muhammad, actually put Coppin State in the lead briefly, 27-26, with 5:50 left in the half.
To shut down Boykin, Crean switched to a box-and-one defense, first with freshman Joe Chapman then sophomore Todd Townsend hounding him at every turn. Running the baseline in an attempt to combat Marquette's zone, Boykin wasn't able to get a good look at the basket in the final 10 minutes.
“We didn't jump to the ball very well and that's what really hurt us early in the first half,” Crean said. “We weren't in our normal help-side positions to take those cutters away so we had to make adjustments. I think that's one of the keys to this time of year: being able to make adjustments when you haven't seen a team play.”
Said Coppin State coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell: “I've got to give Coach Crean credit for the box-and-one at the time. It threw our kids off for a few minutes there and we started rushing and getting away from what we wanted to do.”
The Golden Eagles regained the lead on a layup from senior center Robert Jackson at 5:40. He failed to convert a three-point play but Chapman sneaked in from the side and put back an offensive rebound to put Marquette ahead, 30-27.
A layup by Jackson, between two straight from Wade, gave the Golden Eagles a 36-27 lead with 1:44 left in the half.
Marquette had a chance to send Coppin State into the locker room having gone scoreless in the final 5:49, but Coppin State twice tracked down offensive rebounds after missed shots.
Muhammad ended their scoring drought with a three-pointer from the top of the key with just 5 seconds left, cutting Marquette's lead to 36-30 at halftime.
Crean turned Boykin over to Wade for the first 10 minutes of the second half after he spent most of the first half on point guard Raheem Scott. Boykin missed the only two shots he took during that period, as Marquette stretched its lead to 48-37 with about 10 minutes left.
“I thought Dwyane did a really good job on Jimmy Boykin,” Crean said. “I probably should have put him out there on him from the very beginning because he is going to be one of our top defensive stoppers, without question. I thought he really stepped up.”
Jackson, who was limited to four points in 15 first-half minutes thanks largely to Coppin State's 2-3 zone, awakened in the final 10 minutes. He scored nine consecutive points for Marquette during one span, highlighted by consecutive three-point plays, to give the Golden Eagles a 57-42 lead with slightly less than 5 minutes left.
He was the only other double-digit scorer for Marquette, finishing with 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Sophomore point guard Travis Diener chipped in with six points and eight assists and junior forward Scott Merritt had six points and eight boards.
Marquette held Coppin State to just six field goals in the second half and just 36% shooting for the game.
“There was a defensive urgency to not let them score,” said Wade, who again provided the game's biggest highlight with an alley-oop dunk off a lob from Diener in the first half. “In the first half, we were really overplaying them and not jumping to the ball as well as we do. We don't like to give up many points so in the second half we tried to limit them to as few points as we could.”
The Golden Eagles dominated on the boards, winning that battle, 41-20. They also dished out 19 assists on 25 field goals and shot 47.2% despite hitting just two of 16 three-pointers.
Boykin's 18 points and six rebounds paced Coppin State
Percentages: FG-.360, FT-1.000.
3-Point Goals: 8-18, .444 (L Tucker 0-1, J Boykin 4-8, D Thompson 2-4, R Scott 0-1, L Muhammad 2-4).
Team Rebounds: 20.
Blocked Shots: 1 (D Bradley).
Turnovers: 9 (J Boykin 3, L Muhammad 3, L Tucker, R Scott, D Bradley).
Steals: 4 (L Tucker, J Boykin, R Scott, D Jones).
Percentages: FG-.472, FT-.750.
3-Point Goals:2-16, .125 (T Townsend 0-1, D Wade 0-2, T Diener 2-9, S Novak 0-2, J Chapman 0-2).
Team Rebounds: 41.
Blocked Shots: 1 (S Merritt).
Turnovers: 10 (R Jackson 3, S Merritt 2, T Diener 2, T Sanders, J Chapman, D Wade).
Steals: 5 (D Wade 3, S Merritt, S Novak).
Technical fouls: None.
Officials: BrianFitzgerald, Dan Chrisman, Tom O'neill