Second-half surge lifts Marquette over Murray State

Marquette 62, Murray State 53
Marquette forward Jae Crowder drives against Murray State's Edward Daniel on Saturday. The Eagles rallied for the victory.

MARQUETTE 62, MURRAY STATE 53

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Marquette has
perfected the art of the comeback.

Down late again, Jae Crowder scored six points during a decisive 14-2 run, and the third-seeded Golden Eagles pulled away from Murray State for a 62-53 victory Saturday that sends the Golden Eagles into next weekend’s West Regional semifinals in Phoenix.

Crowder finished with 17 points, 12 in the second half, and also had 13 rebounds. Darius Johnson-Odom also had 17 for Marquette (27-7).

“When you’re playing a team like Murray State, they’re going to keep throwing punches and throwing punches, and you have to find a way to slow them down,” Johnson-Odom said. “We did a great job of that today.”

Isaiah Canaan had 16 points and six rebounds for the sixth-seeded Racers (31-2), who fell just short of their first trip to the regional semifinals for the second time in three years. This one is sure to sting, too, even if it wasn’t as gutwrenchingly close. Murray State lost to Butler 54-52 in 2010 when Gordon Hayward forced a Canaan turnover with about 10 seconds left.

The Racers have come a long way since. They won their first 23 games of the season, and showed they can play with anyone.

LOUISVILLE 59, NEW MEXICO 56

In Portland, Ore., Russ Smith had 17 points as Louisville held off New Mexico for its sixth consecutive win to advance to the regional semifinals for the first time since 2009.

Kyle Kuric added 10 points for the Big East Tournament champs, who lost their first game of the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons.

Trailing 53-46, New Mexico’s Drew Gordon hit a pair of free throws, and Demetrius Walker made a 3-pointer to pull to within 53-51 with 1:36 left. Smith made a pair of free throws for fourth-seeded Louisville (28-9), but Gordon answered with a tip-in.

Gorgui Dieng dunked with 32.3 seconds left and Peyton Siva added free throws to make it 59-53. Gordon dropped a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left, but it was too late for the fifth seeded Lobos (28-7).

who have never been to the round of 16.

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