NCAA Tournament scores 2013, Marquette vs. Butler: Golden Eagles win thriller, 74-72

Kevin C. Cox

In what was arguably the best game of Saturday's third-round matchups, Marquette moved on to the Sweet 16 with a hard-fought victory.

Butler and Marquette played one of the best games of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night. In the end, it was the Golden Eagles that escaped with the 74-72 win.

Butler led throughout most of the first half, and thanks to sharp-shooting guard Rotnei Clarke, it seemed as if Brad Stevens' bunch might cruise to the finish line. The Golden Eagles responded in a big way though, forcing Butler into multiple turnovers to tie the score at 60-60 with six minutes to go.

With Butler down three and 15 seconds left on the clock, Roosevelt Jones toed the line to shoot two free throws. He sunk the first, but missed the second, and the rebound went off a Marquette player, giving the Bulldogs one more chance. Clarke got off a deep three-pointer, but it missed everything and sailed out of bounds. Davonte Gardner then hit two free-throws to push the lead to four.

In desperation, Butler chucked the ball down the floor. A goal-tending call was made on the play, cutting the deficit to 74-72 with four seconds left. Marquette was then unable to inbound the ball, giving the Bulldogs one final shot. Andrew Smith got an off-balanced three away, but it missed everything as it clanked off the backboard.

Marquette has now won in thrilling fashion for the second time in three days.

Vander Blue was phenomenal throughout, scoring 29 points in the winning effort. He also recorded four steals. Trent Lockett and Jamil Wilson both had 13 points for MU.

Clarke scored a team-high 24 points for the Bulldogs. Smith also had a solid game, putting up 17 points and eight rebounds.

With the win, Marquette advances to the Sweet 16. The Golden Eagles will face the winner of Miami and Illinois on Friday, March 29 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX.

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