January 12, 2008

Marquette snaps Notre Dame's winning streak

Box score

MILWAUKEE Jerel McNeal had 18 points to lead five Marquette players in double figures and the 15th-ranked Golden Eagles handed Notre Dame its biggest loss in the teams' 109-game rivalry, 92-66 on Saturday.

The defeat was the first for the Fighting Irish (12-3, 2-1 Big East) since Nov. 19 and snapped their 10-game winning streak.

Lazar Hayward added 17 points for Marquette (13-2, 3-1) and tied a career high with 11 rebounds. Dominic James added 16 points and seven assists, and Wesley Matthews scored 15 points.

Luke Harangody tied his career high with 29 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for Notre Dame but he had little help as sharpshooter Kyle McAlarney, coming off a career-high 32 points in a victory over Connecticut, finished with eight points. Point guard Tory Jackson had six points and fouled out with 7:15 remaining. The Irish had a season-high 24 turnovers.

The Marquette-Notre Dame rivalry dates to 1920 and the Irish have played the Golden Eagles more than any other opponent in its 103-year history.

Notre Dame leads the all-time series 76-33, but you wouldn't have guessed it Saturday.

The Golden Eagles dominated from the start, with Matthews taking the opening tip and racing down court for a layup 5 seconds in to the game. Matthews followed with a steal and a dunk a minute later to make it 5-0.

Marquette led 44-36 at halftime - Notre Dame's first halftime deficit this season - and quickly took charge in the second half, outscoring Notre Dame 20-5 after the Irish had gotten within five points.

Marquette had 20 fast-break points to Notre Dame's two, and the Golden Eagles made 12-of-24 of 3-pointers.

Marquette went up 17-7 and led by as many as 13 points in the first half, taking advantage of eight Notre Dame turnovers in the first 12 minutes. The Irish, who lead the Big East in 3-point shooting, missed their first eight 3-point shots before McAlarney hit one with 5:58 remaining in the half to pull Notre Dame within 28-24.

The Golden Eagles responded with an 11-2 run to take its biggest lead of the half, 39-26, with 2:58 remaining.

Harangody had 18 points and seven rebounds in the first half.

The Irish were trying to move to 3-0 in the Big East for the first time since joining the league in 1995.

For more coverage of Marquette, visit MarquetteWatch.com; for more on Notre Dame, visit IrishIllustrated.com.

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