College Basketball: St. Johns at Marquette - Marquette Favored
89% of Bets Placed on Marquette -6 | Matchup | CBB Picks
Marquette may be without one of its top players for the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden, but it also may have found a capable backup.
The 18th-ranked Golden Eagles hope freshman guard David Cubillan can provide another big lift with injured starter Jerel McNeal out when they play St. John's in a first-round game Wednesday night.
Oddsmakers have made Marquette -6 point spread favorites (College Basketball Odds) for todays game, the over/under has
been set at 127.5 total points (View College Basketball Sports Books).
McNeal, a second-team all-Big East selection who averages 14.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.6 steals for Marquette (23-8, 10-6), suffered a thumb injury in practice Friday and was unable to play in Saturday's regular-season finale against No. 13 Pittsburgh.
Cubillan, though, came off the bench and scored a season-high 20 points, making four 3-pointers and hitting six free throws in the final 1:40 to lead the Golden Eagles to a 75-71 victory that secured the sixth seed for the conference tournament.
"I knew I was going to have to step up, all of us knew. Jerel is such a big part of this team," said Cubillan, who averages 5.4 points and is shooting 43.0 percent from 3-point range. "We always prepare and I was ready to step up and play."
Cubillan played 26 minutes and also saw time at point guard down the stretch as starter Dominic James missed a portion of the second half due to leg cramps. Cubillan has averaged 12.7 points in his last three games, going 8-for-18 from 3-point range and making all 14 of his free throws.
James, a first-team all-Big East selection, had a career-high 10 assists in just 27 minutes.
McNeal is not expected to play Wednesday and his status will be assessed on a game-by-game basis.
In their first Big East tournament appearance last season, the Golden Eagles received a bye to the quarterfinals and lost 62-59 to Georgetown.
St. John's (16-14, 7-9)) claimed the 11th seed with a 77-64 victory over Providence on Sunday, but the win came at a high price for the Red Storm. Senior forward Lamont Hamilton, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, suffered a season-ending knee injury when he collided with teammate Anthony Mason Jr. and a Providence player trying to block a shot.
"Even though I am disappointed and the season didn't end like I would have liked for me, this year has been a great year for St. John's," said Hamilton, who averaged 13.4 points and 6.5 rebounds and was a first-team all-Big East selection. "I will cheer for my teammates to make it all the way, and I will be a leader for my team on the sideline."
Red Storm coach Norm Roberts likely will insert forward Qa'rraan Calhoun into the starting lineup. The 6-foot-8 freshman, who averages 5.8 points and 4.0 rebounds, had a season-high 21 points off the bench Sunday.
"When I saw Lamont go out, I knew I had to step up," Calhoun said. "This is my first time going to the tournament. It feels good winning this game. This gives us a boost going into the tournament."
St. John's was 15th in the conference in scoring at 63.7 points per game and 14th in shooting at 40.8 percent. The Red Storm have not won a Big East tournament game since an 83-80 victory over Notre Dame on March 12, 2003.
These teams did not play each other this season due to the unbalanced schedule the Big East uses, and Marquette routed St. John's 81-61 in the only meeting in 2005-06. The Golden Eagles have won the last five games to take a 7-5 lead in the all-time series.
The winner of this game will play third-seeded Pitt in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
by: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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