Pittsburgh snaps MU’s 5-game win streak

Lazar Hayward was frustrated all night recording just 11 points on 4-for17 shooting.

In one of the most crucial matchups of the season for both teams, Pittsburgh edged Marquette 58-51 Thursday night at the Bradley Center, snapping the Golden Eagles 5-game winning streak.

The Panthers (20-6, 9-4 Big East) took advantage of the Golden Eagles lack of height and scored many easy second half buckets to break away from a pesky Marquette squad. Pittsburgh shot 60 percent in the second half and 54.8 percent on the night.

“I thought Pitt played outstanding,” Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. “Any time a team can shoot 68 percent inside the arc that does not bode well for us … They just absolutely annihilated us inside.”

A balanced scoring attack was the difference for Pittsburgh as four players each scored 10 points and grabbed at least four rebounds.

For the Golden Eagles (16-9, 7-5 Big East), they couldn’t quite get it done in front of a home crowd of 16,486 decked in gold.

Coming into game, Marquette ranked second in the country in 3-point field goal percentage at 42.3 percent. Tonight, they shot a lowly 26.3 percent, knocking down just 5-of-19 treys, including many attempts down the stretch.

“I think we did a good job,” Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said about defending the 3-point shot. “At the same time, they missed some open ones at the end as they were scrambling, but for the most part we did a pretty good job and they didn’t get many open looks.”

Marquette forward Lazar Hayward, who came in averaging 18.6 points per game, went ice cold shooting 4-of-17 for 11 points. The Panthers defense stifled Marquette all night, blocking eight shots – six by Gary McGhee – and forcing 10 turnovers.

“Some days it won’t happen but I have to contribute elsewhere,” Hayward said. “If I’m not scoring I have to contribute somewhere whether it’s on the defensive end rebounding or making assists. I have to be always able contribute.”

Pittsburgh moved into a tie for third place in the Big East and snatched another impressive road victory in what Dixon said is the toughest league in the country.

As for Marquette, it sits alone in seventh place in the Big East and heads to Cincinnati Sunday for the first of three straight road games.