Clarke hits buzzer-beater to top Marquette in Maui

Rotnei Clark had the green light to shoot whenever he wanted most of the afternoon, but his usually reliable 3-point shot hadn’t been falling.

But that was all for naught on the final play of the game, when Clarke hit a one-handed, running 3-pointer from 30 feet to give the Bulldogs a 72-71 win in the first round of the Maui Invitational.

Clarke made just 4-of-14 shots from beyond the arc on the afternoon, shooting whenever he had even a step between himself and his defender. And Marquette defended the sharpshooter well, including Derrick Wilson on the game’s final play. But there was no defense for a perfect shot, and Marquette moves to 1-2.

Marquette took a three-point lead with 31 seconds left when Jake Thomas rebounded a Junior Cadougan missed 3-pointer and banked a shot off the glass. He was fouled on the play and made his free throw, but Butler answered when Erik Fromm crashed the boards and scored off an offensive rebound with 10 seconds, cutting Marquette’s lead to 1.

Marquette inbounded to Junior Cadougan, who rattled home his first free throw before missing his second, allowing Clarke to set up and hit the game-winner.

Vander Blue led Marquette with 21 points, including his first three 3-pointers of the season, and Cadougan added 14 more in the back-and-forth contest that saw neither team lead by more than six points the entire way.

Williams had to improvise much of the second half, as Davante Gardner, Jamil Wilson and Juan Anderson had all picked up their fourth fouls by the 9-minute mark in the second half. Trent Lockett, who came off the bench with an eye injury, fouled out with three minutes left.

Butler’s Khyle Marshall took advantage of that foul trouble on the wing, as the 6-foot-6 wing scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the win.

With Marquette up 62-60 with under three minutes to play, Blue scored five straight to extend its lead to five points, but a three-point play from center Andrew Smith tied the game up before Thomas’ own three-point play.

Marquette looked wide awake for the 10:30 a.m. local time tip, jumping out to a 14-4 lead through the game’s first six minutes, and forcing the Bulldogs into six turnovers. The Golden Eagles hit 4-of-6 shots to open the game, but slowed down considerably as the first half went on, ending up with 11 turnovers.

Vander Blue had a key stretch late in the half, connecting on a 3-pointer and following it with a basket-and-foul to give Marquette a 29-27 lead.

Foul trouble was also an issue in the first half, as Junior Cadougan, Jamil Wilson, Derrick Wilson and Davante Gardner all picked up two fouls in the first 20 minutes.


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