Golden Eagles Appear Focused

By David Scott - January 10, 2007

STORRS, Conn. - Both the Huskies and the Golden Eagles are shooting around as the pre-game clock winds down from 60:00. Marquette is in its road blue shorts, sweatpants and jerseys while UConn is in the white “throwback” uniforms - with white shooting tops - that are worn so often they can hardly be considered throwback any more. But we digress.

Marquette has been all-business in shoot around with guards getting good defensive work-outs and the big men pounding each other on the low block. You sense the Golden Eagles might know what’s at stake at tonight.

. . .Connecticut is holding opponents to 35.0 percent shooting, tied for second-best in Division I. The Huskies are allowing 57.1 points per game, and the Golden Eagles are looking to avoid being held below 60 for a third consecutive game (both losses at Providence and home to Syracuse). It is the first back-to-back conference losses in Crean's eight seasons at the helm and the first for the program since the 1998-99 season - that year, under Mike Deane, MU started off 0-5 in Conference USA play and finished 6-10 in the league and 14-15 overall.

Last year, MU started 1-1 in Big East play, opening with a 94-79 win over then-No. 2 UConn. They finished 10-6 and 20-11 overall before a first round loss to Alabama in the NCAA Tournament.

. . . The Marquette radio network broadcast team is made up of Steve “The Homer” True and former Marquette player, 7-footer, Jim McIlvaine. McIlvaine becomes the tallest radio color commentators we’ve seen in recent years, topping UCLA’s Don McLean who we ran into at Ann Arbor last season.

McIlvaine is 22nd on the Golden Eagles all-time scoring list with 1,278 points in his career that spanned 1990-91 through 1993-94.

. . . Marquette guard Jerel McNeal, who did not make the trip east to Providence with Marquette last week after suffering a noggin-knocker in practice, is back after his return against SU. McNeal had 19 points and 12 rebounds in last year's win over Connecticut.

McNeal is the only player in the country to average at least 14.0 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game, 3.5 assists per game and 3.5 steals per game.

. . . Freshman Lazar Hayward earned his first career start against Syracuse. He scored seven points
and grabbed five boards in 18 minutes. Marquette has used four different lineups this season. Sophomore Dominic James, sophomore Wesley Matthews and junior Ousmane Barro have started all 16 games this season.

Posted by David Scott at 06:10 PM on January 10, 2007

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