Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Marquette Battles UConn, Big East Schedule Off to a Bang

UConn trailed by 10 points on two different occasions Tuesday night, but stellar guard play form Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright -- a theme so far for the 10-3 Huskies -- kept them in the game, even taking a three-point lead with under six seconds on the clock.

Napier had a game-high 29 points, including four three-pointers and eight rebounds, really coming to life whenever the game seemed to get away from the Huskies.  While UConn showed a lot of heart and hustle, the game was theirs to win in the final minutes.  Early on, the battle was all Marquette, getting outstanding minutes from their bench players like Davante Gardner, who added 18 points -- going 10-for-10 at the free throw line -- with 6 rebounds.  But even as the game raged on, Marquette had little trouble staying in the thick of it, eventually taking the game 82-76.

UConn is not a team with great size, getting out-rebounded again, 39-29, and 11-5 on the offensive glass.  What they lack in size, they make up for in great speed.  Marquette assistant coach Brad Autry echoed head coach Buzz Williams' (serving a one-game suspension) sentiment that if the Golden Eagles "turned the game into a track meet," they would get run out of the building.

Marquette was able to get a lot of good open looks, passing the ball around well to get inside the three-point arc and ran UConn ragged in the first half.  But UConn played very aggressively, taking big transition three's and other risks that luckily paid off.

Marquette benefited from 41 attempts at the free throw line, sinking 30 of them, while UConn only had 25 chances and hit 17.  Senior guard Junior Cadougan, who played a team-high 35 minutes hit the team's first three pointer on their 17th attempt as time ran out in the second half.  The Golden Eagles outscored the Huskies 13-7 in overtime, giving them their first win in conference play, and evening their overall record with UConn at 10-3.

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