Marquette falls to No. 24 Notre Dame
NEW YORK Marquette made the trip to New York for the Big East tournament and the Golden Eagles, who drew a double-bye for the second straight year, are leaving again after one game.
Granted, the 12th-ranked Golden Eagles’ 73-65 quarterfinal loss to No. 24 Notre Dame on Thursday night was an exciting game filled with second-half lead changes, but it was still a loss—an unfulfilling loss.
“The season isn’t over,” Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. “This part of the season is over, but we need to learn from it and grow from it and then flush it out and begin to prepare for whoever we’re going to play next week.”
The Golden Eagles are a lock for an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament and they have a good chance of being among the 16 teams seeded in the top of the four brackets.
“We’ll go home at some point tomorrow,” Williams said. “We’ll practice before the selection show and find out who and where and when we play.”
Pat Connaughton scored 18 points on six 3-pointers and Jack Cooley had two big offensive rebounds in Notre Dame’s game-changing run as the Fighting Irish advanced to the Big East tournament semifinals for the fourth straight year.
Unfortunately for the Irish (25-8) the road has ended there each time—the last two times against No. 4 Louisville, who they will face in Friday night’s semifinals at Madison Square Garden. The second-seeded Cardinals, the tournament’s defending champions, advanced with a 74-55 win over Villanova.
The teams had quite a meeting in the regular season with Notre Dame prevailing 104-101 in a five-overtime epic.
This will be Notre Dame’s last chance to win the Big East tournament since it is leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference next season and the Irish will try to do it in the fluorescent green uniforms they unveiled this week.
“What a great college game. I’m really proud of our group,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “I thought we were men the whole night. The game didn’t start really well for us, but we fought back. Two good teams going at it. They made another run, and we fought out of it. We made such big plays at key times, and everybody had a hand in it.
“We’re thrilled to be playing in our fourth straight semifinal. I know no one else in the league has done that. We wonder what it would be like to play on Saturday because our program has never played there.”