Normally known more for his hustle on defense, Jerel McNeal scored a career-high 28 points in the Big East quarterfinals against Notre Dame, leading Marquette to an 89-79 win, reports the Chicago Tribune. Snubbed for conference awards, he helped knock off the Big East's player of the year‚ Luke Harangody, and coach of the year Mike Brey.
The junior won Big East defensive honors last year. McNeal's grade-school friend and backcourt mate, Maurice Acker, added 11 points, mostly in a decisive second-half run that gave Marquette a comfortable 10-point lead. Harangody suffered from foul trouble and ended with 13 points. The Golden Eagles advance to face Pittsburgh in the semis.