NCAA Division I Sports
NCAA Division I Sports
Novak, Marquette Upset 3rd Ranked Team of the Season
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Steve Novak already says Marquette deserves to be in the NCAA tournament.
After two wins over two Top 25 opponents in three days, Novak thinks the Golden Eagles should be ranked, too.
He scored 27 points, hit five 3-pointers and made two important free throws to lead Marquette to an 84-82 upset of No. 9 Pittsburgh on Saturday night.
“We've been getting better the whole year,” Novak said. “I think we're really maturing as a team.”
But does it deserve a national ranking?
“I hope so,” he said. “Winning these games are all we can do. Hopefully we've done enough to impress the right people. If we haven't, we'll just keep working and keep getting better.”
Dominic James had 16 points and Wesley Matthews added 13 to give the Golden Eagles (18-8, 8-5 Big East) another win over a quality opponent and snap the Panthers' three-game winning streak.
“Two ranked teams going down just gives us a lot of confidence,” James said.
It was another dramatic victory for the Golden Eagles, who also have wins over then-No. 2 Connecticut in their Big East debut on Jan. 3 and No. 17 Georgetown on Thursday night.
The Golden Eagles also led No. 4 Villanova for 37 minutes on the road and led late in the second half at Pittsburgh earlier this year before falling 77-71.
Pittsburgh (20-4, 9-4) nearly came from behind again.
Carl Krauser finished with 18 points and scored five straight to cut Marquette's lead to 78-77 with 3 minutes to go after the Golden Eagles led by as many as 10.
Novak and Ronald Ramon, the Panthers' most accurate 3-point shooter, exchanged 3s with 1:51 remaining. Marquette missed two shots on its next possession, and Pittsburgh's Aaron Gray was fouled with 24.7 seconds left.
The 64 percent free throw shooter missed both attempts to tie, and the Panthers were forced to foul Novak, who is 66-for-67 from the line this season.
“[If] we make a free throw, they miss a free throw, we're very happy,” Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said.
Novak didn't and gave Marquette an 83-80 lead with 11.2 left.
“He's missed one free throw in 14 months,” Marquette coach Tom Crean said. “We like to have the ball in his hands.”
Ramon got a good look at the basket, but missed a 3 and Gray's rebound and putback cut it to 83-82 with 0.2 seconds remaining. Marquette's Joe Chapman hit a free throw for the final margin.
Pittsburgh never found a rhythm in trying to get physical with Marquette in front of 19,007, the largest crowd ever to see a college game in Wisconsin.
Marquette, lowly regarded to start the season, has adapted to the physical style of the Big East, and this game was no different.
In one sequence, James fouled Ramon hard, hooking him around the head with his arm, and Gray drew a technical foul moments later when he threw an elbow before an inbounds play.
Gray, who had 20 rebounds against Marquette in the first game, picked up his fourth foul with 7:54 left and finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Marquette had pushed the lead to 10 when Dan Fitzgerald tipped in a miss by Novak and hit a 3-pointer of his own on the ensuing possession to make it 68-58 with 9:46 remaining.
But most of the highlights have been by the 6-foot-11 Novak, who set the single season mark for 3-pointers at Marquette on Thursday night.
The senior sharpshooter has 57 3s in Big East play with three conference games left, six behind the record of 63 held by Connecticut's Ray Allen in 1995-96.
|Totals||200||29-60 (48.3%)||16-21 (76.2%)||29||19||24||6||1||84|
Team Rebs: 2
|Totals||200||30-55 (54.5%)||13-22 (59.1%)||32||19||21||3||1||82|
Team Rebs: 1
Technicals: 1 (A. Gray)
Officials: Fran Connolly, Frank Scagliotta, Jim Burr