Saturday , Dec , 02 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Marquette puts perfect record on line

Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) – The eighth-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles are
heavily favored in today’s championship game of the Pepsi Blue & Gold Classic
against the North Dakota State Bison.

North Dakota State earned a spot in tonight’s title game by besting Princeton
last night, 57-50. The Bison have now won three straight games to improve to
4-2 overall, and they have limited two of their last three opponents to fewer
than 60 points.

As for Marquette, it posted an 83-67 victory over Northwestern State last
night and hasn’t lost in the opening round of this tournament in 40 years.
The Golden Eagles usually win this event every year, but the team was upset
by Winthrop in the championship game last season by a 71-64 final. They are
8-0 overall this year and have six double-digit victories to their credit.

Marquette has won all three previous meetings with North Dakota State,
although the programs haven’t squared off in over 40 years.

North Dakota State scored only 21 points in the first half against Princeton
last night and trailed by five points at intermission. Fortunately, the Bison
were able to connect on 50 percent of their field goal attempts over the final
20 minutes, and a 12-5 edge in points from the foul line in the second half
proved to be key to the win. North Dakota State completely dominated the
boards in the clash, as it earned a 38-19 rebounding advantage over Princeton,
including a 15-3 edge on the offensive boards. The starters accounted for 53
of the team’s 57 points in the win, and Ben Woodside led the way with 20
points. Mike Nelson pitched in 16 points despite a 4-of-13 showing from the
floor, and Brett Winkelman tallied 11 points and 10 boards. Overall this
season, four players are averaging double figures in scoring for North Dakota
State. Andre Smith entered the Princeton game as the leader of the Bison with
18.8 ppg, and while he was held in check offensively with two points, he did
pull down 11 boards in that tilt.

Marquette simply overpowered Northwestern State yesterday, earning a 53-26
rebounding advantage in the clash, including a 21-9 edge on the offensive
boards. The Golden Eagles also limited the Demons to 39 percent shooting from
the floor and forced 19 turnovers. Four starters reached double figures in
scoring for Marquette, and Ousmane Barro led the way with 21 points and 13
rebounds while shooting 10-of-13 from the floor. Dominic James pitched in 19
points and six assists, and Wesley Matthews managed 14 points, eight rebounds
and five assists. Rounding out the foursome was Jerel McNeal with 13 points.
James is the go-to guy at the offensive end, as he is scoring 18.6 ppg to go
along with 4.4 apg. McNeal adds 13.4 ppg to the mix, and Matthews pitches in
12.0 ppg. The Golden Eagles are scoring 78.1 ppg while limiting opponents to
61.5 ppg.