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Updated: Sunday, January 11, 2004 12:44 AM EST
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(22) Marquette 61, Saint Louis 59

MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Travis Diener did most of his damage from 3-point range until the final seconds.

Diener made a short bank shot in the final seconds to lift 22nd-ranked Marquette to their seventh straight victory over Conference USA rival Saint Louis, 61-59.

Diener made 4-of-7 3-pointers en route to 18 points but did not score in the final seven minutes until sinking the winning basket. He drove the length of the court before making the short jumper over Billikens guard Josh Fisher with two seconds to go.

"We run situations like that everyday in practice where it is a tie game or we are up one or down one," Diener said. "Working on that in practice gave me the confidence that I needed to run the play that he called."

"There was nobody talking about overtime, there was no talk of getting a good shot," Marquette coach Tom Crean said. "All they were talking about was winning. Travis made a great read and saw that he had it. The presence of mind to stop and use the backboard is tremendous."

Saint Louis failed to get a shot on its final possession after Diener deflected the inbounds pass.

"Hats off to Travis, he wasn't having his best college game, but big players make big plays, Saint Louis coach Brad Soderberg said.

Diener's basket capped a late flurry for Marquette (11-2, 2-0 C-USA), which scored five of the game's final seven points.

The Billikens had a 57-56 on a basket by Izik Ohanon with 53 seconds remaining, but freshman Dameon Mason responded with a pair of free throws to reclaim the lead for the Golden Eagles 16 seconds later.

Marquette's Steve Novak added 1-of-2 free throws with 23 seconds to go, but Reggie Bryant tied it for Saint Louis (8-5, 1-1) on a driving layup with just under 12 seconds to go.

Bryant scored 25 points to lead the Billikens, who shot just 43 percent (23-of-53) from the floor but held the Golden Eagles to 42 percent (23-of-55).

"They play solid defense and the play teams very tough," Diener said. "We knew it would be a battle, they played extremely hard.

Terry Sanders scored 12 points and Scott Merritt added 11 for Marquette, which extended its overall winning streak to four games.

© 2005 STATS, Inc