LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Marquette’s 70-51 loss Sunday at No. 12 Louisville was a missed chance for the Golden Eagles to take control of the Big East.
A win would have given the No. 25 Golden Eagles a one-game lead atop the standings after Syracuse’s loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday. But after holding Louisville without a field goal for the first 5:41, Marquette had no answer for the Cardinals’ rebounding and defense.
“We had a great opportunity in front of us today,” senior guard Trent Lockett said. “Unfortunately, Louisville flat out beat us today. There are no excuses.”
Marquette coach Buzz Williams summed up Louisville’s performance with two statistics.
“They rebounded 11 of their 16 missed shots in the first half,” Williams said. “They forced 12 turnovers in the second. That’s their recipe for winning and I thought they were really, really good in both halves.”
Against a team that prides itself on getting the ball inside, Louisville outrebounded the Golden Eagles 38-26. That gave the Cardinals easy shots at the rim and a 42-20 advantage on points in the paint.
“They absolutely smacked us,” Williams said.
The Marquette bench entered Sunday averaging nearly 31 points and 18 rebounds a game but contributed just 10 points and seven rebounds against Louisville. Guards Vander Blue (17) and Lockett (16) combined for 33 of the team’s 51 points.
Reserve big man Davante Gardner picked up two early fouls and was never a factor.
“I thought we settled too much — once we got it below the free throw line, I thought we settled for too many jumpers,” Williams said of his team’s inside game. “I didn’t think we put enough pressure on their defense once we got it below the free throw line.”
No. 23 Minnesota 62, Iowa 59: MINNEAPOLIS — Austin Hollins hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 11.6 seconds left, lifting No. 23 Minnesota to a 62-59 victory over Iowa on Sunday afternoon.
Hollins finished with 17 points to help the Gophers (17-5, 5-4 Big Ten) survive a rough second half and escape the scrappy Hawkeyes (14-8, 3-6).
With Minnesota trailing 59-57, the 6-foot-4 Hollins came off a screen to get open in the corner on an inbounds play and made the shot over 6-foot-1 Mike Gesell. Hollins then hounded Gesell in the corner on the other end to force the ball out of bounds.
Andre Hollins, who had 15 points, made two free throws to stretch the lead to three, and Gesell’s tying attempt rolled off the front rim. Gesell finished with 11 points, and Aaron White and Zach McCabe each had 10 for the Hawkeyes.