New York • Marquette has the big trophy every school wants. That one was from the 1977 NCAA championship.
There’s a new one to add. It was official Saturday when the 15th-ranked Golden Eagles beat St. John’s 69-67 in overtime to win a share of the Big East regular-season title. It was Marquette’s first championship in the Big East since joining the conference in 2005-06.
The fact that the Big East will be the same in name only starting next season meant a lot to coach Buzz Williams.
"That’s the icing on the cake for me," Williams said, taking his time with his words and at the same time enjoying the moment. "I don’t have the experience that the coaches and former coaches have had in this league. For a country kid from a town of 2,000 in Texas [Van Alstyne] to be a part of what for the last 30 years has been the best league in college basketball, I am very humbled by all that."
Fifth-ranked Georgetown clinched its share of the Big East title with a 61-39 win over No. 17 Syracuse earlier Saturday, while No. 8 Louisville made it a three-way tie with a 73-57 victory over No. 24 Notre Dame.
There almost was no celebration for the Golden Eagles, who led by nine with 1 minute, 50 seconds to go. St. John’s suddenly found some offense through forcing turnovers with its press, and Marquette was missing some free throws.
Jamal Branch’s layup with 27 seconds left in regulation capped a 12-2 run that tied it at 63-63.
Blue scored on a drive with 48 seconds left in overtime to tie it at 67-67. After St. John’s missed two shots on one possession, Marquette called a timeout with 7.4 seconds left and there was one player who was getting the ball.
"I wanted to make sure it was the last shot," said Blue, who had four points in the overtime. "I didn’t want St. John’s to get a shot. I didn’t want a charge or to turn the ball over in any way."
The ball went through the basket, and Marquette had a share of the title.
"We were emotionally bankrupt," Williams said. "To play at the Garden, to play for the league and to win it with a last-second shot, it couldn’t have been scripted any better."
Blue had 16 points for the Golden Eagles (23-7, 14-4 Big East), who finished second in the Big East last season and were picked seventh in the preseason conference poll in November. This was their fourth straight win and sixth in seven games, and the Golden Eagles get a bye to the quarterfinals Thursday.
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