"We don't make open shots,'' WVU coach Bob Huggins said. "We made some shots in the first half and then the second half we didn't make shots. We don't have people who can drive it to the basket. That's not the kind of guys we have. We have to depend on making some shots.''
Backup point guard Junior Cadougan was instrumental for Marquette, scoring 15 points, dishing out five assists and making key free throws down the stretch. Averaging just 3.2 points per game, his career high before Wednesday was 10 points.
Darius Johnson-Odom scored 11 for the Eagles - including the key 3-pointers that gave Marquette the lead for good - and backup center Davante Gardner, who didn't even play when the teams met in January, added 10 points.
West Virginia led 41-31 early in the second half, but Marquette dominated from there. It was still tied at 55, though, as the clock turned past five minutes until Johnson-Odom made his back-to-back 3-pointers - both after WVU turnovers - and the Mountaineers never recovered.
Johnson-Odom had spent several stretches on the bench beside coach Buzz Williams before his heroics.
"He senses when I'm mad at him and he tries to prove me wrong,'' Williams said. "Those two shots changed the game. I know they changed the momentum.''
The best chance WVU had in the final minutes was when Bryant made two free throws to close it to 64-61 with 31 seconds to play and then stole the ensuing inbounds pass.
But he missed his drive to the basket, Cadougan made two more free throws and it was over.
"I had a clear path to the basket,'' said Bryant, who might have tied the game with a basket and a free throw. He got neither. "I just didn't get the call.''
Leading by seven, 36-29 at halftime, West Virginia appeared well on its way to start the second half. When Bryant made a 3-pointer early the Mountaineers had a 10-point lead and it was still nine, 44-35, after a Mazzulla 3 about four minutes into the half.
But WVU was about to encounter defensive problems because Flowers, who played less than five minutes in the first half, picked up his third foul early in the second. Cadougan scored seven straight on drives to the basket at one point and Marquette's comeback was on.
West Virginia's hot shooting for most of the first half and some eventually-solid defense at the end of the first 20 minutes is what got the Mountaineers their 36-29 halftime edge. WVU was 7-of-11 on 3-pointers and shot 58.3 percent overall before the break, but for a while it didn't seem to matter.
That's because Marquette was attacking inside, got Flowers in foul trouble right away (he played 4:51 at the start and then sat the rest of the half) and then later in the half forced two Huggins time outs with two largely uncontested layups.
Over the final five minutes, though, the Mountaineers solved all those issues, forcing Marquette into two turnovers and 0-for-5 shooting. Meanwhile, Bryant and Jones were scoring a 3-pointer and five points each and when Bryant capped the half with a fall-down drive to the basket for a layup West Virginia had completed a 14-1 run that erased a six-point deficit.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.