March Madness is in full affect after No. 3 seeded Marquette rallied to beat the No. 14 seeded Davidson Wildcats 59-58 in the last seconds at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky. Vander Blue saved the Golden Eagles season with a smooth lay-up with one second left in the game.
Davidson had a seven-point lead with 1:33 to go, but Marquette rallied to a dramatic comeback in the first round match-up. Jamil Wilson hit two three-pointers during Davidson’s collapse in the final minutes, including one with 10 seconds left in the game to bring the Golden Eagles within one.
On the Wildcat’s next possession, De’Mon Brooks threw the ball up the left-side of the court to avoid a foul but missed Nik Cochran by a step. The ball was ruled out of bounds when Cochran made a grab for it with his foot on the line. Vander Blue’s quick drive through the lane for the go-ahead layup came on the next possession to complete the comeback for Marquette.
Jake Cohen led all scorers with 20 points in the loss for Davidson, while Brooks added 11 points and eight rebounds. Chris Otule finished with a double-double for Marquette, with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Blue’s play in the final minutes saved the Golden Eagles from a disastrous upset, though he struggled with his shot early in the contest. His teammates weren’t any better, as Marquette shot just 34 percent from the field and were 1-for-12 from behind the arc before hitting three-straight in the final minutes.
With the huge win over Davidson, Marquette advances to the second round of the East to face Butler, who held off Bucknell 68-56 in the first round. The two teams faced off at the Maui Invitational in Hawaii to open the season, and Butler got the best of Marquette in a 72-71 thriller.
The Bulldogs have fared well in the NCAA tournament in years past, as they fought their way to back-to-back title appearances in 2010 and 2011, losing both. Butler certainly has the capability of beating Marquette again, so expect another close one on Saturday. Marquette ruins Davidson’s upset bid to keep their season alive, but will the Golden Eagles struggles offensively carry over to their match-up with Butler Saturday?