|McNeal's 20 points lead No. 25 Marquette to a 73-64 victory over St. John's|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 20 February 2008 16:44|
Marquette (19-6, 9-5 Big East) took control of the game with its trademark defense, getting eight steals in forcing 16 first-half turnovers on the way to a 36-24 lead.
The Golden Eagles opened a 23-point lead three times, the last at 59-36 on a short jumper by Dan Fitzgerald with 10:05 to play.
The Red Storm (10-15, 4-10) then showed a rare offensive spark, going on a 14-2 run that made it 61-50 on a free throw by Eugene Lawrence with 6:31 left.
Dominic James scored on a reverse layup on a nice pass from Lazar Hayward - Marquette's first field goal in 5:07 - to snap the run and Ousmane Barro added two free throws and the Golden Eagles were up 65-50 with 4:04 left.
The Red Storm had one last run, outscoring Marquette 11-4 to pull to 69-61 on a 3-pointer by Lawrence with 21 seconds to go.
James, who was 9-for-9 from the free throw line, added 19 points for Marquette.
Anthony Mason Jr. had 20 points for St. John's, which dropped its third straight after a three-game winning streak. Freshman Paris Horne and Lawrence both had 12 points for St. John's.
The Red Storm, who lost their fifth straight game at Madison Square Garden, had their season-low point total in their last two games, 43 in a 17-point loss to Cincinnati and 42 in an 18-point loss to Villanova.
Marquette finished with nine steals, just under its 9.2 average which is second in the Big East. St. John's, which averages 15 turnovers per game, finished with 23.
The 12-point halftime deficit was the Red Storm's best first-half offensive showing in their last three games at Madison Square Garden. Georgetown had a 41-14 lead over St. John's after 20 minutes and Villanova was ahead of the Red Storm 31-13 at the half.