(11)Marquette knocks (6)Xavier out of NCAA tourney

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Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – Darius Johnson-Odom drained four three- pointers and scored 19 points, as the Marquette Golden Eagles shut down the veteran Xavier Musketeers, 66-55, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.Marquette (21-14) shot 53 percent from the floor and held Atlantic-10 Conference Player of the Year Tu Holloway to five points to advance in the East Region. It will next play third-seeded and Big East rival Syracuse on Sunday.Jimmy Butler posted 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals for the 11th-seeded Golden Eagles, who got 10 points from Jae Crowder in a lopsided win.”I thought collectively we played really well. I thought that we executed the scouting report, and I thought we responded when they began a run,” Marquette head coach Buzz Williams said. “We’re thankful to still be playing.”Andrew Taylor was a spark off Xavier’s bench with 16 points, but the sixth-seeded Musketeers (24-8) didn’t get much production from their starters to end a streak of three consecutive Sweet 16 appearances.While both teams were making a sixth straight showing in the NCAA Tournament, the true experience favored the Musketeers, whose starters had played in 26 games in the prestigious event.Only Butler saw action in more than one tourney test for Marquette coming in, but the Big East-tested Eagles controlled the slow-moving tilt throughout and led by as many as 18 in an unexpected blowout.”We play in a tough conference. You can’t take a day off. You can play tough teams from top to bottom, and I think it has prepared us for games like this,” Johnson-Odom said.Xavier had one extended run in the second half, scoring 14 of 18 points to pull within 51-43 on Jeff Robinson’s tip-in with 8 1/2 minutes remaining.But Holloway turned the ball over the next time down and Johnson-Odom hit a three-pointer to push the margin back to double digits.The next two Xavier possessions ended in a turnover and a missed free throw, and jumpers from Junior Cadougan and Crowder made it a 58-43 contest with 5 1/2 minutes to go.Holloway, who shot 1-for-8 from the field, hit two free throws with 3:12 on the clock to make it a single-digit affair, 60-51, but again Johnson-Odom answered with a tough bucket inside, and the Eagles held on for the convincing win.”Marquette, in my opinion, was the better team tonight,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “[It] certainly hurt our offense with Mark Lyons being in foul trouble early on. He’s one of our primary ball handlers and takes a lot of pressure off of Tu in terms of getting the ball to the spots we need to be effective on offense.”Xavier was held without a field goal for five minutes early on, and the subsequent 9-1 run allowed Marquette to take a 17-7 lead with nine minutes remaining in the opening half.The Eagles stayed on top and scored eight of the half’s final 10 points, with Johnson-Odom’s three-point play in the final minute yielding a 33-20 cushion.Game NotesMarquette fell as a No. 6 seed to Washington in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament…Xavier and Michigan State were the only teams to have made at least the Sweet 16 in each of the last three NCAA Tournaments, but both lost their first game this year…Marquette improved to 35-29 all-time in the tourney, while Xavier fell to 19-22…Holloway came in averaging 20.2 points per game…Lyons scored six points for Xavier, eight below his season average…The Musketeers shot 2-of-13 from three-point range.

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