With what Marquette fans have gone through so far this season, particularly after last week’s embarrassing loss to Florida, Saturday couldn’t have been any better.
Marquette never trailed in its 60-50 win over rival Wisconsin, but there were a host of moments that got Marquette fans on their feet, screaming at the top of their lungs.
With 5:42 left in the first half, Wisconsin forward Ryan Evans cut the deficit to 23-16 on a lay-in. Two minutes later, Marquette was back up by 14.
Guard Vander Blue cut to the basket and scored a lay up on the next possession, then after a defensive rebound by forward Jamil Wilson, Blue hit a three-pointer as time expired on the shot clock.
On the ensuing Wisconsin possession, Davante Gardner got a defensive rebound and found a clear lane to the basket. Running coast-to-coast, and beating a Wisconsin defender, Gardner layed it in on a fast break to give Marquette a 30-16 lead.
In the second half of the second half, the Badgers made a final surge, and guard Junior Cadougan took over the game.
With the lead down to three points with 9:13 left, Cadougan floated in an and-one and sunk the free throw. Wisconsin answered with a free throw, but Cadougan knocked down a jumper on the next offensive possession.
After a three-pointer by forward Frank Kaminsky cut the lead back down to four, Cadougan answered with another jumper to put Marquette back up 48-42 with 7:29 left.
Up by just six again with 3:30 left, Marquette needed one more big stop. Wisconsin forward Sam Dekker, making his first start, drove to the basket for an easy score but ran into Juan Anderson.
Anderson stoned him cold right under the basket with an epic rejection that set up another Cadougan and-one on the following possession that basically sealed the game.
With just 40 seconds left, up five points, Vander Blue channeled his inner Aaron Rodgers and hit Cadougan on a surprising long pass that went almost the full length of the court. Cadougan caught it like a wide receiver, turned and laid it in to ice the cake.
It was Marquette’s second victory in a row over the Badgers, guaranteeing another year of bragging rights for the Golden Eagles.
For Cadougan it was even more special, as unlike the rest of the upperclassmen, he wasn’t part of the squad that beat Wisconsin last season thanks to a suspension for breaking team rules.
He finished with 18 points, while Blue scored 17, grabbed five rebounds and stole the ball four times.
If last season’s performance against the Badgers wasn’t convincing enough, Bo Ryan must now be regretting letting Blue slip through his fingers.