UConn bounces back after a two game skid and finds their first victory over an over .500 Big East team. Marquette, winners of their last eight of nine, could not overcome the 46-27 rebounding differential.
UConn imposed their will in the first half. The Huskies’ defensive physicality (very handsy) and constant pushing of the pace controlled the game. They shot 63% from 3 and finished with 15 transition points to keep the normally active and aggressive Marquette defense on their heels. Justin Lewis tried to keep up with UConn, but his forced shots (2-8, 0-4 from 3) would not fall. UConn led Marquette 46-36 at the half.
Every time Marquette would make a run in the second half, UConn would answer with a run of their own before Marquette could ever tie or take the lead. After Marquette cut the lead to 1 with 11:56 to go, the Huskies exploded for a 10-0 run. Lewis and Darryl Morsell countered with an immediate 8-0 of their own to push Marquette within 3, 63-60. UConn followed this up with 7 straight to put the game away. Marquette has completed numerous comeback victories this season, but UConn held them off for the 80-72 win.
UConn (16-6, 7-4) was in need of a big win. Despite being a top 25 team and being #1 Auburn’s only loss on the season (before tonight), they had not had an impressive win since that meeting on November 24, 2021. Against Marquette, they played to their strengths and pulled off an impressive win against one of the hottest teams in the country. The Huskies did this without leading scorer RJ Cole filling up the stat sheet (9 points on 3-11 shooting). They won with Adama Sanogo and Tyrese Martin dominating the paint. They combined for 42 points and 30 rebounds (10 offensive). UConn, the second best offensive rebounding team in the country, dominated the glass and used physicality to control the game. They were aggressive with their physicality from the jump and, being the stronger and more athletic team (and the refs allowing the physicality), this strategy played to their favor. The Huskies’ great FT shooting, 20-23, helped ice the game.
UConn is not a good matchup for Marquette (16-8, 8-5) and that showed. Marquette’s glaring weakness is rebounding, especially giving up offensive rebounds, and that plays right into UConn’s favor. The strength and handsiness of UConn, especially on the perimeter, caught Marquette off guard in the first half, and their lead guards, Morsell and Tyler Kolek (combined 4-19, 2-8 from 3), really struggled to create consistent rhythm on offense. The Golden Eagles, who are eleventh in the country with 17 assists per game, finished with only 13. Greg Elliot provided a spark off the bench with 17 points and Lewis tried to get going in the second half (13 second half points), but Marquette’s inability to rebound/keep UConn out of the paint and missed FTs (13-20 from the line) did them in. Olivier-Maxence Prosper led the Golden Eagles with 18 points.
UConn @ #25 Xavier on Friday 2/11
Marquette @ Butler on Saturday 2/12