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Big East Basketball Roundup: 11/13/06

  • --No. 16 Marquette narrowly avoided what would have been a disastrous early season loss at home by outlasting Idaho State 59-56 in overtime in the first round of the CBE Classic.

Last season's Big East Freshman of the Year Dominic James scored 17 points to lead the Golden Eagles (2-0), who hit just one field goal and scored just six points in the overtime period. Tom Crean's guys were also unimpressive in last Friday's season-opening 77-66 win over Hillsdale College.

Marquette now faces Detroit, which beat Maine 57-50, in the second-round of the tournament on Tuesday.

Dominic James' three-pointer was
Marquette's lone field goal in overtime.

  • --A-J Graves scored 28 points and hit the game winning 3-pointer with just over a minute to go as Butler (2-0) upset Notre Dame (1-1) 71-69 in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.

The Irish hit 58.8 percent of their threes and did get nice efforts from seniors Colin Falls (17 points) and Russell Carter (15), and 6-foot-8-inch freshman Luke Harangody (17 points, 10 rebounds). But they botched a chance to tie at the end even after taking a timeout to set up a final play, and their defense was porous throughout the contest.

"I don't know if I was being fearless or not real smart," said head coach Mike Brey of his decision to bring a fragile Notre Dame team still recovering from a gut-wrenching '05-'06 campaign into a competetive early season tournament. "When we committed to the NIT a couple years ago, the format was a little different (Notre Dame would have played at home under it). I thought twice about it after the format was changed, but, hey, we made a commitment and I thought with our group, getting thrown into this, let's see what we've got.

"Maybe not the smartest [move]. But I'm hoping we can learn from it, grow up."

If Notre Dame had won they would have taken on Indiana, which defeated Lafayette 91-66 in Kelvin Sampson's debut as head coach.

  • --Melvin Buckley scored a career-high 29 points and freshman guard Solomon Bozeman (How many Solomons do these guys have?) added 23 to lead South Florida past Buffalo, 77-61.

The season-opening victory was the seventh in a row for the Bulls, who haven't dropped a home opener since 1987.

Bozeman signed with Ole Miss, but asked for a release after Rod Barnes was fired. That opened the door for USF because McCullum just happened to be good friends with Bozeman's father, Eric.

"None of those things [Bozeman did] surprised me whatsoever," McCullum said. "He's going to play that well all year."