This is part two of a three-part series looking back at the top 27 moments of the 2011-2012 Marquette basketball season. Today’s moments are numbers 10 through 18. Check back tomorrow for the top nine moments of the year. This list was compiled by Mark Strotman and Andrei Greska.
Click here for moments 19 through 27.
Marquette enjoyed its second Sweet 16 berth in as many years in 2011, and the season was highlighted by numerous plays, performances and comebacks. In honor of Marquette’s 27-win season, here are the top 27 moments of the year.
18. Buzz picks up career victory No. 100
With a “Rainman” like Buzz at the helm, you know this was a big one. Williams went into the game against South Florida with 99 wins under his belt and looking to break into the triple digits. With a few minutes left in the game and the result handily in the bag, Buzz had to take a seat after it appeared he couldn’t stand up. When asked about it in the press conference he responded saying: “Just anxious man. This stuff eats me up. I want to win.” Win he has, notching 96 victories to this day as the leader of the Golden Eagles, and 110 overall as a head coach.
17. Turnovers propel MU over hot South Florida team
South Florida entered the Bradley Center on Jan. 24 as one of the Big East’s hottest teams. A matchup of 5-2 teams was fairly one-sided, as the Golden Eagles forced 20 Bull turnovers that led to 20 points in their 67-47 win. Jae Crowder was an animal, finishing with six steals and Jamil Wilson added two of his own to go with his three blocks. On the flip side, Marquette turned the ball over just five times and made seven 3-pointers against one of the best defensive teams in the conference. The win was the fifth in a row for the Golden Eagles, who moved into second place.
16. Blue goes for 26 in the Virgin Islands
If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? That was the question as Vander went off against Winthrop in the first night of the Paradise Jam, in a game that wasn’t televised anywhere and could only be seen online. Nevertheless, Blue had a career best night against the Eagles, making the first seven shots he took and finishing the game with 26 points after going 10-13 from the line. This game was a sign that the Blue had made a leap from the disappointing way he finished his freshman campaign.
15. Golden Eagles outrun, outpress Cincinnati in win
Buzz Williams has worked for four years to create a roster full of quick, versatile players that can pressure and run the break. Nowhere was that seen better than Marquette’s 95-78 win over Cincinnati at the Bradley Center. The Golden Eagles scored 25 points off 14 Cincinnati turnovers and had 31 fast break points. The Bearcats had no answer for Marquette’s full court pressure, led by Jamil Wilson trapping and Jae Crowder (three steals) intercepting Cincinnati’s third pass.The victory occurred on National Marquette Day, adding to the day’s festivities.
14. Wilson provides career night against Friars
Jamil Wilson was thrust into a prominent role when center Chris Otule went down for the season. Dubbed Jimmy Butler’s successor by many before he had played one minute, his performance at Providence validated all the hype he had coming into the season as Wilson gave the Marquette faithful a taste of what is to come (check out the 43 second mark of the video for that beautiful shooting form). Jamil buzzed around the court scoring a career best 16 points, pulling down seven boards and stuffing three shots in 33 minutes. If there were any questions about his game, this performance let all doubters know Wilson will be a force to be reckoned with.
13. Blue knocks down all four FTs in final minute
Vander Blue had made just 42 percent of his free throw attempts in Big East play entering the second Villanova game, so it’s no surprise that many were skeptical when he stepped to the line with a chance to seal the game in the final minute. But Blue calmly made both freebies with 33 seconds left to give Marquette a five-point lead, and then made two more with eight seconds left to put the Golden Eagles up four, securing an 82-78 victory. It was a turning point for Blue, who would go on to shoot 81.5 percent from the line the rest of the year. Blue finished the Villanova contest with nine points and seven rebounds.
12. Gardner scores 22, grabs 15 boards against St. John’s
Coming off back to back losses and fresh off learning Chris Otule would be out for the rest of the season, Davante Gardner stepped into the phone booth to don his Superman cape against St. John’s. The Ox in the Box posted career numbers against the Red Storm, scoring 22 points and pulling down 15 rebounds to the chagrin of an incredulous ESPN broadcasting crew. Gardner had his way on the offensive glass grabbing six offensive rebounds, extending possessions and getting to the line eight times. The numbers were great and all, but the larger message was sent to the Big East that Davante would wreak havoc in the paint.
11. Crowder carries Marquette in second round of NCAA Tourney
Jae Crowder blamed Marquette’s loss to Louisville in the Big East Tournament on himself, but he more than made up for it with his performance against BYU. Crowder scored 25 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the 88-68 blowout. Not to be forgotten was his four assists and four steals to lead Marquette. It was quite possibly Crowder’s most dominating performance of the season, which is quite a feat. He made 10-of-20 shots, including three 3-pointers, and his six offensive rebounds led to four second chance points. Darius Johnson-Odom added 20 in the win, but it was Crowder who was there when Marquette needed a timely stop or basket.
10. Buzz two-steps after emotional win at West Virginia
You didn’t think we’d leave this one out, did you? After a hard fought and emotionally draining game at West Virginia, Buzz Wiliams headed over to do an interview but stopped halfway to celebrate the moment by doing a little two-step to the song Country Roads. In those 10 seconds Buzz went from being disliked in West Virginia to becoming an enemy of the state. It was a move that didn’t have malicious intent, but resonated across the country, getting internet play on all the blogs, trending globally on Twitter, and making the rounds on PTI and Around the Horn. It was funny, entertaining and as close to an Al McGuire move as he could get.