Central starts hot, loses lead to Marquette in second half

Sunday, December 12, 2004

If only Saturday's championship game of the Northwest Mobil On the Run Tournament had ended how it began.

After jumping out to a 13-point lead in the first quarter, Central came out on the losing end of a 52-44 contest against Marquette at Northwest.

Central led 19-6 after one quarter, but the Tigers scored just two points in the second quarter to lead by just 21-17 at halftime.

Marquette took the lead 24-23 with 6:05 left in the third quarter on a 3-pointer from Jason Lewis. After a bucket from Darnell Wilks put Central back on top by one, Marquette's Matt Smith nailed two free throws and the Mustangs never looked back.

"We just ran into a much bigger, stronger team," Central coach Derek McCord said.

It didn't help that there seemed to be a lid on the basket after the first eight minutes.

"Our shooting went cold," McCord said. "We got some tough breaks. We didn't shoot the ball well and they shot lights out."

Marquette Coach Shane Matzen tipped his hat to the Tigers.

"They've got a lot of positives," he said. "After an 0-3 start, they kept their heads up and turned it into a positive."

Marquette, 4-0, faced its toughest match of the season Saturday.

"That's the first time we've faced adversity," Matzen said. "Going into this game, we'd won every quarter. That [first-quarter deficit] was something we'd never seen."

Still, Matzen said he wasn't worried when the Mustangs fell behind by 13 points.

"No. 1, I trust our team. No. 2, it's December 11," he said. "This situation, regardless of how it turns out, we're going to learn from it."

Wilks led the Tigers with 12 points. Eli Harris added 10, including the Tigers' only points in the second quarter, and Garrett Ozbun chipped in with eight points.

Marquette's Lewis and Steve Young each had 14 points. Lewis hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter, and half of Young's points came in the final quarter.

After opening the season with three losses, McCord was pleased with his team's showing at Northwest. The Tigers, the No. 4 seed in the tournament, defeated Parkway Central in the opening round and knocked off top-seeded Eureka in the semifinals.

"We wanted to get three good games in," McCord said. "We play two early season tournaments to try and make us better. With as many new players as we have, to go 2-3 is pretty good."

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