Marquette 71, Miami (Fla.) 61

David Driver, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- Junior reserve Jamil Wilson had 16 points and Vander Blue and Davante Gardner added 14 as No. 3 seed Marquette, with four players in double figures, beat No. 2 seed Miami 71-61 on Thursday in the East Region semifinals at the Verizon Center.
Chris Otule added 11 points for the Golden Eagles (26-8), whose harassing defense frustrated a Miami team that ended the season 29-7 after winning the ACC regular-season and tournament titles.
The Hurricanes were paced by Shane Larkin, who had 14 points, in a game that was not as close as the final score.
Redshirt junior forward Wilson, averaging 9.7 points, hit a 3-pointer to give Marquette a 41-23 lead with 14:56 left in the game.
It was the third 3-pointer of the game for Wilson, who had seven points in the first half.
Miami cut the lead to 43-30 on a 3-pointer by Trey McKinney-Jones early in the second half but the Golden Eagles went on an 8-0 run to take a 51-30 lead on a basket by Blue.
A dunk by Julian Gamble of Miami made it 51-37 with 8:36 left in the game but Davante Gardner made two baskets in a row to give Marquette a 57-39 lead with 6:20 left.
Gardner hit two free throws with 4:45 left to give the Golden Eagles a 59-42 edge as Marquette fans began an "overrated" chant.
Gardner hit two more three throws to make it 61-44 and a layup by Blue gave Marquette a 63-44 advantage with just 4:00 to go to put away Miami.
Marquette will play Saturday against the winner of Thursday's late tip between No. 1 seed Indiana and No. 4 seed Syracuse. They were meeting for the first time in the NCAA Tournament since the 1987 national championship game.
Marquette got its offense rolling early with Gardner nailing a pair of 3-pointers. Miami cut the lead to 24-14 but the Hurricanes missed several easy shots in one sequence with just over 4:00 to play. Blue hit a shot with about 3 seconds left in the first half to give Marquette a 29-16 lead at the break. Blue had eight points in the first half to lead all scorers while Kenny Kadji of Miami had six.
Larkin picked up his second foul with 11:29 left in the first half but sat out just a few seconds before coming back in and playing the rest of the first half.
The Hurricanes made just 6 of 29 shots (20.7 percent) in the first half and some players became visibly upset after offensive trips down the floor came up empty. Marquette made just four turnovers in the first half.
Miami was outrebounded 38-33. It played without 6-foot-10 center Reggie Johnson, who is averaging 6.7 points and 7.0 rebounds, due to a lower extremity injury.
"Well it doesn't change our game plan but Reggie Johnson is our best rebounder at both ends of the court and we're going to need other guys to step up and do a great job especially on the defensive back boards because Marquette is such a powerful, offensively rebounding team," Miami head coach Jim Larranaga said Wednesday.
NOTES: The game was a homecoming for Larranaga and his staff, who captured the East Region title with upstart George Mason on the same floor in 2006 to earn a trip to the Final Four. ... Gardner was playing in front of a home crowd. He's from Suffolk, Va., about three hours south of the nation's capital. ... Marquette assistant coach Jerry Wainwright is the former head coach at UNC-Wilmington and used to match wits in the CAA against Larranaga. ... Marquette played on the Verizon Center floor on Feb. 11 and lost 63-55 to host Georgetown.

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