MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- A broken play helped Marquette keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
Freshman Dameon Mason completed a three-point play with eight-tenths of a second remaining as the Golden Eagles posted a dramatic 81-80 Conference USA victory over 24th-ranked Louisville.
Mason was fouled by Alhaji Mohammed while hitting a fallaway jumper from the right baseline off an inbounds pass from Scott Merritt. His foul shot rolled in, giving the Golden Eagles, who overcame a questionable call in the final seconds, the lead.
Mason admitted the play was not what the Golden Eagles were supposed to run.
"Chaos," he said. "We ran the last play wrong and I happened to be in the right spot and got the shot up."
Louisville (19-8, 9-7) was unable to get off a shot as a desperation pass was knocked out of bounds. The fans stormed the court following Marquette's second upset over the Cardinals this season.
"The play wasn't for Dameon," Marquette coach Tom Crean said. "It was going to be Steve (Novak) or then Dameon cutting to the corner. We wanted to have two looks in the corner. He (Mason) had a great read and stepped in the right spot."
The Cardinals took an 80-78 lead on Taquan Dean's two free throws with 12 seconds left. A 3-pointer by Marquette's Brandon Bell went in and out, but the rebound was knocked out by Louisville, allowing the Golden Eagles (17-10, 8-8) to retain possession.
"You have to give Marquette a lot of credit," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "They made a foul shot with no time on the clock. That isn't always easy to do."
Novak scored 20 points for Marquette, which struggled down the stretch, winning just four of its last nine games. But the Golden Eagles swept the season series against Louisville, which could bolster their hopes of receiving an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. They snapped the Cardinals' 16-game winning streak with a 77-70 win at Louisville on January 31.
Francisco Garcia scored 23 points and Dean added 16 for the Cardinals, who finished tied for sixth in Conference USA with Saint Louis.
Louisville erased a 43-36 halftime deficit by shutting down Travis Diener and Novak, Marquette's two leading scorers in the second half. Novak scored 14 points in the first half after recording a career-high 30 in the earlier win at Louisville.
The Cardinals took their biggest lead, 73-68, on Garcia's free throw with 3:34 left before the Golden Eagles tied it, 78-78, on Diener's two free throws with 12 seconds left.
Diener was whistled for his fifth foul before the Cardinals inbounded the ball, forcing Marquette's leading scorer to the bench. However, television replays clearly showed that Dean was bumped by Carlton Christian.
Mason and Diener chipped in with 14 points apiece for the Golden Eagles, who could miss the NCAA Tournament after reaching the Final Four last season.