NEW YORK (AP) -- Marquette's 73-61 season-opening victory over
Villanova in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Madison Square
Garden on Friday night left both coaches with plenty of work to do.
''The great news is we got a win,'' Marquette's Tom Crean said.
''The great news for me as a coach is I have a lot of things to
Start with Villanova's 31 offensive rebounds, a statistic that
could have been disastrous had the Wildcats shot better than 30
percent from the floor.
''I'm not sure I've ever been with a team that gave up 31
offensive rebounds,'' Crean said.
Villanova could not do much with that edge. The Wildcats'
shooting was erratic all night. On one second-half sequence, they
missed five shots, rebounding each one and missing each follow-up.
They missed their first 20 3-point attempts, many of them with
air balls, and finished just 3-for-26 beyond the arc.
Contrast that with the shower of six 3-pointers Marquette (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today; No. 18 Associated Press) used
at the end of the first half to build a lead that ballooned to as
many as 20 points.
''We didn't make shots,'' Villanova coach Jay Wright said.
''Give their defense credit, too. The way they defend, they really
protect the 3-pointer.''
That is by design, Crean said.
''We take a lot of pride in defending the 3-point line,'' he
said. ''For us to be a good team, we have to challenge 3-point
Dwyane Wade led the Golden Eagles with 17 points,
including an alley-oop basket with eight minutes left that was the
game's most spectacular play. He also played 33 minutes without a
The Wildcats started freshmen Randy Foye and Allan Ray in the
backcourt, and Ray missed six of seven shots in the first half but
finished as Villanova's leading scorer with 16. Andrew Sullivan and
Jason Fraser had 13 each.
Marquette, playing in the Garden for the first time since 1995,
raced to an 11-2 lead on the shooting of senior transfer Robert
Jackson and Scott Merritt. Then Marquette hit six 3-pointers, three
of them by Travis Diener.
Jackson had 15 points and Diener 12.
Villanova struggled through a miserable shooting first half,
making just eight of 29 attempts and missing all six 3-point shots
-- two of them airballs.
Senior Ricky Wright, the Wildcats' second-leading scorer last
season at 13.7 points a game, went scoreless and had just one
shot in the first half. He played just 11 minutes because of three
His fourth foul, less than two minutes into the second half,
sent Wright to the bench. He fouled out with 11½ minutes remaining.
Villanova did not make a 3-pointer until Ray hit two consecutive in
the last two minutes.
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