CINCINNATI, OHMaybe West Virginia's cold shooting last Wednesday was contagious, as the Bearcats had a terrible night shooting the ball in their 75-60 loss to Marquette Saturday.
The Bearcats shot just 26.7 percent from the field in the first half and 31.7 percent for the game. Once again, they missed wide open shots and easy lay-ups.
Head Coach Mick Cronin, however, was more worried about his big men letting the missed shots affect their defense.
"I'm concerned that our defense was terrible," said Cronin. "I'm concerned that my big men are worried about their offense so much that they can't run down to the other end and play defense. People have bad shooting nights that happens."
The Bearcats' defense kept Marquette in check for the most of the first half, they gave up too may easy shots in the second half.
Marquette scored just 11 points in the first 14 minutes of the game, shooting just 4-17 from the field over that stretch. In the second half, the Golden Eagles made 16-28 shots and outscored the Bearcats 26-10 in the paint.
The Bearcats led 22-13 with six minutes left in the first half, but Marquette went on a 15-2 run to take a 28-24 lead at halftime.
Apart from Jamual Warren and Deonta Vaughn, the rest of the team shot 2-18 from the field in the first half. Vaughn was the high scorer in the game with 23 points on 8-17 shooting.
After the game, Cronin said he was disappointed with his team's effort. "They out-hustled us, they out-rebounded us, out scrapped us and out fought us, said Cronin. "For us we have to figure out why we were winning. Too many guys think we were winning because of our great talent, instead of our great effort."
Marquette head coach Tom Crean said he thought his team's work on the glass was the key to the game. "They knew that if we didn't come in here and have great passion on the backboards with our ability to block out and get to the offensive boards ,after the way they have been rebounding especially Wednesday night at West Virginia, we would have never been in the game," said Crean. "Rebounding was key."
Ousmane Barro was a big reason why Marquette out-rebounded the Bearcats 39-35. Barro came into the game averaging 4.6 points and 4.8 rebounds, and he ended up with 19 points on 9-10 shooting and ten rebounds. UC made a star out of Barro, leaving him open on the baseline nearly every time Dominic James or Jerel McNeal drove to the basket.
Cronin said his team's attitude in practice Friday was terrible, and his players kept talking back when he was trying to coach them. Perhaps the 23 point win at West Virginia went to their heads.
"Handling success is not something we have a lot of experience with, said Cronin. "We failed miserably in that category today."
The attendance for the game was 11,843, a season high for the Bearcats.