Big East Treat

As impressive as Marquette has been at home in Big East play, it has been equally awful on the road. The Golden Eagles try again for their first conference road victory Saturday afternoon when they face Cincinnati.

The No. 17 Golden Eagles (15-4, 5-3) have averaged 78.0 points and shot 40.2 percent from 3-point range in their five Big East wins. Marquette, though, scored only 62.7 points per game and shot 37.4 percent in three conference defeats outside the Bradley Center - games it lost by an average of 17.0 points.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Marquette -2 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 54% of bets for this game have been placed on Marquette -2 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

The Golden Eagles slogged their way to a 62-54 victory over South Florida on Tuesday, as Lazar Hayward scored a career-high 23 points and Wesley Matthews hit three second-half 3-pointers to help them pull away.

"Coach Crean never told me to stop shooting,'' said Matthews, who went 4-for-4 from beyond the arc after entering the game 7-for-31 on 3s. "It was just a matter of shooting with confidence, and that is what I did.''

The duo picked up the offensive slack for junior guards Dominic James and Jerel McNeal, who combined for nine points on 3-of-16 shooting. James, who averages a team-high 13.5 points, went 1-for-6 from the foul line.

McNeal has gone 10-for-36 from the floor over his last three games, making Hayward's hot shooting all the more important. He's averaged 17.0 points on 53.3 percent in his last three contests.

"That is just a mentality that I have, that coaches have instilled in me: When I get the ball in the middle, not settling for that little jump shot,'' said Hayward, undersized at power forward at 6-foot-6. "I am just trying to attack no matter who is down there.''

Cincinnati (10-11, 5-4) already has a pair of conference road victories to its credit, including an impressive 62-39 win at West Virginia on Wednesday.

The Bearcats held the Mountaineers - led by former Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins - to 20 percent (10-for-50) shooting. Deonta Vaughn hit four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points, while reserve Marcus Skiles had 12 rebounds for the Bearcats, who amassed a 47-26 advantage on the glass.

Wednesday's win marked the first time in eight games Cincinnati held an opponent below 40 percent from the field. The Bearcats are 2-2 against ranked opponents, having earned home wins over then-No. 19 Villanova and then-No. 15 Pittsburgh.

Vaughn is tied for sixth in the Big East at 17.5 points per game and has made 40.8 percent of his 3-pointers. The Golden Eagles likely will rely on their backcourt depth to try and wear down the 6-1 sophomore, letting James, McNeal and reserves David Cubillan and Maurice Acker take turns trying to stop him defensively.

Cincinnati has won the last three meetings between the teams, including a 70-66 victory at Marquette on Jan. 7, 2006 in which the Bearcats rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit. James and McNeal combined for 34 points, although they were 13-for-36 from the field.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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