CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Donald Little's 15-foot jumper from the left wing with 3.1 seconds erased a one-point deficit as No. 4 Cincinnati took over first place in the American Division of Conference USA with a 63-62 triumph over ninth-ranked Marquette.
Cincinnati, which had dropped three straight to the Golden Eagles, trailed 62-58 with 22 seconds left when Steve Logan drained a 3-pointer. Marquette's Dwyane Wade missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 20 seconds remaining and Little made the Golden Eagles pay with his jumper from the wing.
"I just shot it and it went in," Little said. "I do practice shots away from the basket and I usually only make about 40 percent of them. I didn't think it would go in. I was hoping for a rebound." "I hadn't seen Donald make many of those," Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins said. "But he did tonight and that was a big plus for us. We didn't design the play for Donald. It was more for Logan but he stepped up and made the shot." Logan led Cincinnati (26-2, 13-1 C-USA American) with 19 points, including five in the final minute.
"These two teams are really good, especially when we play each other," Huggins said. "We need to put more points up. Sometimes we seem to have a hard time scoring." Wade had 19 points for Marquette (23-4, 12-2), which had a 12-game winning streak snapped.
"I give Cincinnati credit for playing a great game," Marquette coach Tom Crean. "I give my guys a lot of credit. ... I thought the guys gave a great effort tonight." The game was tied 56-56 with 2:40 left but Scott Merritt hit two free throws for Marquette 31 seconds later and a jumper by Travis Diener with 78 seconds left gave the Golden Eagles a 60-56 edge.
Logan hit a clutch jumper with one minute left but Cordell Henry countered 30 seconds later. Logan's 3-pointer got Cincinnati within a point and when Wade missed his free throw, Little grabbed the rebound.
After he buried the go-ahead jumper, Marquette called timeout. But Henry's rushed 3-point attempt clanged off the back rim.
"To tell you the truth, we didn't really focus on Donald at the end and it hurt us," Crean said. "Give them credit, they are a really, really good team. I'd say they are a national championship caliber team." Logan had 12 of his points in the opening half as Cincinnati led 34-24 through 20 minutes. Marquette shot just 33 percent (11-of-33) in the first half, missing 7-of-9 3-point attempts.
The Bearcats looked like they were going to blow the Golden Eagles out, scoring the first nine points of the contest and holding a 20-4 lead 11 minutes into the game. But Wade had six points in a 13-0 burst that got Marquette back in the game.
The game was tied, 24-24, with 4:16 left in the half but Cincinnati scored the final 10 points before the break.
Little opened the second half with a dunk but the Golden Eagles scored 14 of the next 16 points to forge a 38-38 tie.
Little finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and six blocks.
"Donald has been working hard, putting in a lot of extra time," Logan said. "He's got a nice shot. I'm sure tonight was the highlight of his career. We need to talk to coach about running more plays for him." Henry had 13 points and Merritt and Diener 10 apiece for the Golden Eagles.
Cincinnati had not beaten Marquette since a 72-60 victory on January 23, 2000 and kept alive its hopes for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Bearcats also ran their home winning streak to 16 games.
The Golden Eagles committed just nine turnovers but were outrebounded, 41-31.