Marquette ends UConn’s 31-game home winning streak
Storrs, CT (Sports Network) – Jerel McNeal poured in 19 points and grabbed
seven rebounds as Marquette held on to beat 24th-ranked Connecticut, 73-69, at
Gampel Pavilion, ending UConn’s streak of 31 consecutive home victories.
Junior forward Ousmane Barro scored 17 points and had 13 boards as the Golden
Eagles (14-4, 1-2 Big East) snapped a two-game slide while collecting their
first conference win of the season. Dominic James also contributed 17 points,
while Wesley Matthews chipped in 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Doug Wiggins scored a team high 19 points for the Huskies (12-3, 1-2), who
have dropped three of four while suffering back-to-back losses for the first
time since February 9th and 15th of 2004. Jeff Adrien had 18 points and seven
rebounds, while Craig Austrie donated 10 points for a Connecticut team which
shot just 32 percent on the night.
“We have so much talent on the team, and we’re wondering what’s stopping us
from running our offense,” said Wiggins afterward. “I don’t really think it’s
so much the opposing team as it’s us right now. We’re not coming off screens
properly. We’re not setting good screens. It’s all the little things right
Marquette jumped out to an early 18-10 lead behind the strong shooting of
McNeal. The sophomore guard had six points in the spurt, but the Golden Eagles
couldn’t build on the margin.
Adrien led the charge as Connecticut battled back and trailed by three, 24-21,
with 4:53 to play in the first half. Fairly solid shooting by Marquette,
however, kept the Huskies at bay, as they trailed 32-28 at the break on just
28 percent shooting.
A three point play by Hasheem Thabeet gave UConn its first lead of the
contest, 33-32, just 45 ticks into the second half. The Golden Eagles then
quickly regained the lead, but a see-saw battle ensued, and the game was tied
at 44 with 13:26 remaining.
Marquette went on a 18-4 run at that point, nearly putting the game out of
reach. Dwight Burke keyed the effort with a layup at 12:59, while Matthews
ended the run with a tip-in at 4:36 with the Golden Eagles holding a 62-48
Connecticut, meanwhile, went a span of 10:01 without making a shot from the
floor, ending on Wiggins’ trey with 3:25 to play. The Huskies then tried to
rally down the stretch, as Austrie sandwiched a McNeal free throw with a layup
and three-pointer before the clock ran out.
Marquette ended with 39 percent shooting on the night.
“For us to win the game, we had to do a great job of getting back on defense,
which I thought we did, because of their fastbreak,” said Marquette head coach
Tom Crean. “We were able to rebound with them and eventually go over the top
in the rebound margin, which I thought was crucial. And for us, it was shot
selection. We turned it over too many times in the first half, but we settled
down with that in the second half.”
The Huskies streak of 31 straight home wins started in February of
2005…Connecticut got 39 points from its bench…Marquette won the battle of
the boards, 50-39…UConn honored head coach Jim Calhoun in a pre-game
ceremony, recognizing him as a founding member of the National Collegiate
Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City.