Thursday in College Basketball: Marquette Tops Villanova

Brett LissendenSenior Analyst IJanuary 1, 2009

Marquette's trio of senior guards proved to be too much for Villanova in each team's Big East opener.  Playing at home, Dominic James, Jerel McNeal, and Wesley Matthews combined for 60 points to lead No. 25-ranked Marquette to a 79-72 victory over No. 13-ranked Villanova.

McNeal was the Golden Eagles' leading scorer with 24 points while shooting 7-14 from the field, including 4-8 from three-point range.

Corey Fisher led the way for the Wildcats with 21 points, but Villanova trailed for nearly the entire second half. 

This game was the only one on New Year's Day featuring any ranked team, and the result moves both Marquette and Villanova to 12-2 for the season.


Other Results

Texas Tech improved to 9-0 at home on the season and 10-4 overall with a 69-55 victory over Stephen F. Austin.

Western Kentucky scored a decisive 99-76 win over Troy to improve to 2-0 in Sun Belt Conference play.  The Hilltoppers are aiming to return to the NCAA Tournament, where they advanced to the Sweet 16 a season ago. 

The other Sun Belt team to make the NCAA Tournament last March, South Alabama, also notched a conference win today over Florida Atlantic by a score of 74-69.  South Alabama is now 2-1 in conference games, with their only loss coming to Western Kentucky.

Siena, another Cinderella from last season's NCAA Tournament, scored a critical win in MAAC Conference play over Fairfield, 87-81.  Both teams entered the game 2-0 in conference games.  The win pushed Siena to 3-0 and knocked Fairfield to 2-1.

Another contender for the MAAC title, Rider, improved to 2-0 in conference games as they scored an easy 68-54 victory over Iona.  Iona is winless in conference play at 0-3.


Thrilling Finish

The Big Sky matchup between Northern Colorado and Idaho State was the only game to go to overtime on Thursday.

Northern Colorado clung to a 61-60 lead at the end of the overtime period, but Idaho State center Deividas Busma tipped the ball into the basketball just before the buzzer sounded to give his team a 62-61 victory.  The basket was only the second of the game for Busma.


Still Searching

Loyola Marymount, a member of the WCC Conference (most well-known for Gonzaga), fell to 0-15 on Thursday.  Loyola Marymount held a halftime lead over Seattle University but managed only 14 points in the second half to fall by a score of 49-39.  Seattle University just moved (back) to being a Division I program this season.

Loyola Marymount is one of six teams that are still winless at this point in the season in Division I college basketball.