If you looked only at the final score, one might be tempted to think the win came almost too easily. That would be a mistake. The 20-point margin of victory was only possible because the Cards committed themselves to play 40 minutes of hellish defense.
Rotating, switching, anticipating, unrelenting, sliding those feet.
Small wonder the alma mater of Steve Novak and Travis Diener could not hit a three-point shot in a game for the first time since the 2000-01 season. Making two of their first 16 shots, managing only six points in the first 11 minutes of the first half. Averaging more than 80 points a game but held to only 51 points.
Marquette knew the visiting team often wins in this rivalry. The few times the Cards did relax, they saw how quickly the Golden Eagles could get back into a game, cutting U of L’s lead down to six points early in the second half. Marquette had 10 fast break points, U of L had four. The Cards had 16 turnovers, the Golden Eagles had only 13.
Jerry Smith missed all seven of his field goal attempts but was indispensible. Played 37 minutes of in-your-face defense, rarely allowing a shot, much less a three-point attempt. The U of L big men and, yes, that includes Derrick Caracter, are making it difficult for their counterparts around the basket. Started early in the UK game and continues.
You never notice Terrence Williams on defense but he must be doing his job or he wouldn’t be in — scoring 20 points to lead all scorers. David Padgett may have said it best. “If we keep playing good defense, and continue to work on our offense, we can be a pretty good team.”