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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

XL Center continues to provide Golden Eagles struggles as No. 10 Marquette upset by No. 21 UConn

Photo by Alex DeBuhr
Marquette men’s basketball sits in second place of the Big East conference with an 11-3 record.

The XL Center continues to haunt Marquette.

First it was Ja Morant and No. 12 seed Murray State knocking off the No. 5 seed Golden Eagles in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2019. Then last year, UConn’s physicality held Marquette back from completing a comeback.

Add Tuesday night’s game to that.

Behind a dominant first half performance, No. 21 UConn (19-6, 8-6 Big East) pulled off the upset by defeating No. 10 Marquette (19-6, 11-3) 87-72.

“There is a reason why UConn was No. 2 in the country about six weeks ago,” head coach Shaka Smart told ESPN Milwaukee broadcasters Steve “The Homer” True and Tony Smith in a post-game radio interview. “I’m not sure a whole lot of teams come in here and win tonight the way that UConn played.

“Obviously the rebounding statistics is the biggest one that stands out. We have to have more urgency to go grab the ball. Thought they were just a step quicker tonight and

With the loss, the Golden Eagles fall into second place of the Big East standings. Xavier now holds a 0.5 game lead over Marquette for first place.

Sean Jones returns

First-year guard Sean Jones returned to the team after missing the last three games with a wrist injury. He finished with 11 points, two assists and a rebound in 19 minutes off the bench.

“Thought Shawnie (Sean) Jones gave us a big life after being out for a while,” Smart said. “He’s not quite a hundred percent but he was a warrior out there.”

Statistical leaders

Junior guard Tyler Kolek led Marquette on the night with 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting from the field. The Huskies held the conference’s assists leader to four assists on the night.

Sophomore guard Stevie Mitchell added 12 points and three steals. Junior forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper finished with a team-high five rebounds.

Jordan Hawkins and Adama Sanogo combined for 38 of UConn’s 87 points on the night.

Senior guard Tristin Newton recorded a triple-double with 12 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. He is the first player in UConn history to have two triple-doubles in the same season.

Huskies hot first half

UConn looked like the team that began the season 14-0 in the first half.

The Huskies, who pose difficulty for opponents with their size and physicality, attacked the rim in the opening minutes scoring four of their first seven points inside the paint.

Then the floodgates open.

UConn hit eights of its first 11 shots from the field to build a 24-8 advantage. The Golden Eagles, meanwhile, began 4-for-13 from the floor.

Marquette found some offense towards the end of the half when first-year forward Ben Gold hit two 3-pointers across an 8-0 personal stretch to trim the deficit to 42-25 with 3:38 to go. Gold finished with 10 points on the night, the most he has scored in a Big East game.

With seconds winding down, first-year guard Chase Ross scored a fast break layup to cut the score to 14 points.

Ross’s layup looked like it would be the last shot of the half but Alleyne responded with a half-court buzzer-beater to send the Huskies into the locker room leading 46-29.

Marquette, who entered the night second in the Big East in assists, recorded just three assists on 11 made field goals in the first half.

Second half not better

Marquette’s night continued to get worse in the second half.

Hawkins put UConn out to its largest lead of the night at 25 when he hit his fourth triple of the night at the 10:36 mark of the half.

Marquette went on a 8-0 run to get within 17 but the comeback wouldn’t change the Golden Eagles’ night.

The Huskies won the rebounding battle on the night by a landslide 48-12, with 21 being offensive boards.

“We have to have more urgency to go grab the ball,” Smart said. “Thought they were just a step quicker tonight.”

Up next

Marquette will remain on the road as it travels to the nation’s capitol to take on Georgetown (6-18, 1-12 Big East) Saturday at 11 a.m. CST. The Golden Eagles defeated the Hoyas in January at Fiserv Forum.

This article was written by John Leuzzi. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JohnLeuzziMU. 

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