Marquette needed every moment to defeat Davidson and Butler by a total of three points in the tourney's opening two rounds.
The school's Sweet 16 triumph, however, didn't feature any element of procrastination. Using an unrelenting attack from the start, Marquette cashed 2013's first Elite Eight ticket with a 71-61 East Region win over Miami at the Verizon Center in Washington on Thursday night.
The victory via steamrolling gives Marquette its seventh Elite Eight appearance in school history and first since reaching the Final Four in 2003. The basketball world now waits to see if the Golden Eagles will need to go through its old coach to reach Atlanta. Tom Crean's Indiana team was set to play Syracuse 30 minutes after the end of the Marquette-Miami game.
Marquette's scoring was led by Jamil Wilson (16 points, 8 rebounds), Vander Blue (14 points) and Davante Gardner (14). It was Wilson (above, right) who hit a 3-pointer with 9:08 left in the first half to give Marquette its first double-digit lead of the tournament. The third-seeded Golden Eagles were consistent from the floor from start to finish, shooting 27-of-50 (54 percent) on the night.
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That was in direct contrast to the second-seeded Hurricanes. Miami shot a dismal 6-for-27 in the first half, a mark that included a 1-of-12 effort from three-point land. Marquette led 29-16 at halftime with the 13-point deficit equalling the largest Miami had faced all season.
Though its shooting would improve, things wouldn't get much better for Miami in the second half as Marquette kept its lead in double digits the entire 20 minutes. Sophomore Shane Larkin led the Hurricanes with 14 points and only a late push in the final two minutes made the final score look respectable.
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