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Diener works overtime to sink Pirates

By Al Myatt

GREENVILLE — Marquette's Travis Diener dropped an 18-foot jumper from the right wing over the outstretched arm of East Carolina sophomore Japhet McNeil with 2.6 seconds left in overtime to lift the Golden Eagles to a 71-69 Conference USA win on Saturday night.

Diener, who finished with 31 points, assisted 6-foot-10 Steve Novak with 3.6 seconds left in regulation for a 3-pointer that tied the score at 64.

"He's an All America," said Marquette coach Tom Crean of his senior guard. "They make plays for others and they make plays for themselves."

ECU (7-16, 2-9 C-USA) led 63-56 with two minutes left in regulation after rallying from a 12-point deficit at 38-26 with 16:48 to go. But the Pirates couldn't put the game away at the free throw line, going 16 for 30.

Marquette made 5 of 9 free throws in the extra period while ECU was just 1 of 2. Corey Rouse was 4 of 12 on foul shots on an 18-point night. Rouse was 1 of 4 at the line in the last 57 seconds of regulation, leaving the door open for the Golden Eagles to comeback.

"Foul shots killed us," said Mike Cook, who paced the Pirates with 21 points. "We didn't make 'em down the stretch."

Rouse also had 10 rebounds as did Moussa Badiane, who also contributed 14 points before fouling out with 1:20 left in overtime.

Marquette (17-7, 5-6), which moves to the Big East after this scholastic year, won for the first time in three trips to Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. Marquette had lost at Minges Coliseum in the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons despite being ranked No. 9 each time.

East Carolina will be on the road this week for a pair of C-USA games, taking on UAB on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m., and facing South Florida on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Pirates, still in an uphill fight to snag one of the 12 spots in the 14-team league's tournament, will close out their regular slate with home games against Southern Miss on Wednesday, Feb. 23, and Houston on Saturday, Feb. 26, and a season-ending matchup at Tulane on Saturday, Mar. 5.

Memphis will serve as the host for the conference tournament Mar. 9-12.



Records: ECU 7-16, 2-9; Marquette 17-7, 5-6.
Halftime: Marquette 29-22.
End of Regulation: Tied 64-64.

Name           FG      FT   Pts
Townsend      2-4     1-2     5
Novak        4-13     0-0    12
Jackson       2-4     0-3     4
Chapman       2-6     0-2     5
Diener       9-22   10-12    31
Hanley        0-0     0-0     0
Mason         2-3     0-0     4
Kinsella      1-1     0-0     2
Amoroso       2-5     4-8     8
Totals      24-58   15-27    71

Name           FG      FT   Pts
Rouse        7-13    4-12    18
Badiane       5-8     4-8    14
McNeil        1-6     5-7     8
Hammonds      1-8     0-0     3
Cook         8-16     3-3    21
Kilgore       1-2     0-0     3
King          0-1     0-0     0
Hart          0-1     0-0     0
Castro        1-1     0-0     2
Totals      24-56   16-30    69

3-Point goals: Marquette 8-27 (Novak 4-11, Diener 3-12, Chapman 1-3, Townsend 0-1); East Carolina 5-16 (Cook 2-4, Kilgore 1-1, McNeil 1-3, Hammonds Jr. 1-7, King 0-1).

Fouled out: Chapman, Badiane.

Rebounds: Marquette 40 (Amoroso 9); East Carolina 41 (Badiane, Rouse 10).

Assists: Marquette 16 (Diener 7); East Carolina 13 (McNeil 6).

Total fouls: Marquette 24, East Carolina 21.

Technical fouls: Marquette Team, East Carolina Team.

Attendance: 6,160.

This page updated: 02/23/07 12:34 AM

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