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Marquette coach ‘said nothing’ — and it paid off

Jan 16, 2012, 10:12 PM EDT

spt-120116-marquette AP

It’d be easy to freak out when your team falls behind 18-2 to start a game. But Marquette coach Buzz Williams did the exact opposite.

“I literally said nothing the whole time,” he said during what must have been a tortuous seven minutes.

But it worked. No. 21 Marquette responded with a 32-12 of its own, led by four at halftime and eventually won 74-63 against No. 23 Louisville. Give Buzz some credit. Most would probably go the rant and rave route.

Not that he was overly happy about the game. The win, yes. How it happened, not so much.

“If the games were 33 minutes, we’d be really good,” Williams said. “I really like when we are us. When we are us, we’re pretty good. When we are not us, we’re pretty bad.”

The uneven play isn’t anything new to Marquette (14-4), which played roughly 391 close games last season and has mostly managed to ditch that habit this season. Mostly. They’ve had moments where Williams surely felt the same way (first half vs. Syracuse, second half vs. Georgetown), but he’s sure his guys are starting to get past it.

“I think we played more consecutive minutes of ‘us’ than we have in Big East play and I’m very encouraged by that,” Williams told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “We have to figure out how to do that from start to finish. The first seven minutes of the game obviously were not indicative of how we want to play or how we practice or how we work. But I think from that point forward, it was much more ‘us’ and I think that gives us our best chance for success.”

More promising? Marquette’s through with a chunk of its challenging Big East schedule. Upcoming games against Providence, South Florida and Villanova should be three victories and keep them within shouting distance of Syracuse.

Unless a few too many not “us” moments pop up.

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You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

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