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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

No. 4 Golden Eagles eight-game win-streak ends at No. 1 UConn, 81-53

(Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

No. 4 Marquette’s men’s basketball was uncharacteristically bad. 

A hot offense became cold on all fronts. A team that came in averaging 10.3 turnovers per game turned over the ball 13 times.

Nonexistent 3-point shooting and poor rebounding defined the Golden Eagles all game, and senior guard Tyler Kolek — who was averaging 25.8 points in his past four games — was shut down, scoring just seven points on 2-for-11 shooting. 

What was billed as arguably the game of the season quickly turned into a laugher, as No. 1 UConn took advantage of Marquette’s faulty play and routed the Golden Eagles 81-53 Saturday afternoon at the XL Center.

“We weren’t ourselves,” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart told ESPN Milwaukee broadcasters Steve “The Homer” True and Tony Smith in a post-game radio interview. “They (UConn) were the more violent team for the vast majority of the game. They were quicker to the ball than us.

“We played six out of eight games on the road and our road mentality has been phenomenal for those first five, but today, the game got away from us. We had some frustration that set in on some of our guys, and you just can’t afford that in a venue like this against a team like this.”

While the Huskies (24-2, 14-1 Big East) extended their nation-leading winning streak to 14 games, the Golden Eagles’ (19-6, 10-4 Big East) eight-game win streak swiftly came to an end.

Marquette’s offense falls flat

In their past eight games, the Golden Eagles were on a roll offensively, averaging 82.6 points per game, and shooting 53.6% overall and 42.5% from deep. 

But that team did not show up to play against the Huskies. 

At the 10:18 mark, the game was tied at 18, but then UConn stepped on the gas pedal, going on a 24-8 run to finish out the first half and taking a 16-point lead into the locker room.

“You have to get past hard, even when the score was tied,” Smart said. “The reality is there’s a lot of valuable lessons you can take out of this game today.

“The most important simple lesson is we have to get better at a lot of the little fundamental things that go into scoring a basket on our offensive end, getting a stop on our defensive end, and that has to happen every day in practice. This was a good reminder of that.”

After that, the Huskies never relinquished the lead and their bench — led by senior guard Hassan Diarra who netted 14 points — was a huge part of that, scoring 25 points overall. On the other hand, the Golden Eagles’ bench earned just 10 points with six of those coming from sophomore guard Chase Ross.

The Golden Eagles finished shooting 36.8% from the floor and 21.7% (5-for-23) from deep.

UConn is a force to be reckoned with on glass

Marquette has struggled on the glass the entire season, but this weakness was exploited by UConn several times throughout the game. 

After the first half, the Huskies were winning the rebounding battle 26-17 with 11 offensive boards, leading to nine points. They didn’t let up coming out of the locker room, as after the first five minutes, they were out-rebounding the Golden Eagles by 16.

“UConn was UConn,” Smart said. “They did to us what they’ve been doing to a lot of other teams. We feel like when we’re at our best, we can do a lot better job counteracting it then we did today. Our violence of action was just not there where it needed to be for the majority of the game. You’re not going to compete if that’s the case.”

Dominating the glass for UConn was 7-foot-2 sophomore center Donovan Clingan, who earned a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

“Clingan was really, really good on defense,” Smart said. “His length bothered Tyler (Kolek) at times driving the ball and some of our other guys.”

The Huskies finished with 45 total rebounds and outscored the Golden Eagles 21-4 on second chance points.

Up next

Marquette will return home to face DePaul (3-21, 0-13 Big East) Wednesday at 8 p.m. CST. Last time out, the Golden Eagles defeated the Blue Demons 86-73 on the road.

This article was written by Kaylynn Wright. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @KaylynnWrightMU.

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About the Contributor
Kaylynn Wright
Kaylynn Wright, Assistant Sports Editor
Kaylynn Wright is a sophomore from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin studying journalism, and she is an Assistant Sports Editor for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys reading and watching baseball, specifically the San Francisco Giants and the Boston Red Sox. She is excited to meet new people and continue to create high-quality sports content for the Wire.

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