No. 12 Marquette 79, UConn 64

Marquette outrebounded and outhustled a much bigger Connecticut

team on its way to a 15-point road win that keeps the Golden Eagles

in position for a double bye in next month’s Big East


Jae Crowder had 29 points and 12 rebounds and Darius

Johnson-Odom added 24 in the 79-64 win, the 10th in 11 games for

No. 12 Marquette (22-5, 11-3 Big East).

”It’s a jubilant locker room,” said coach Buzz Williams. ”I’m

extremely pleased with our hearts and our instincts and the

intellect of our team.”

Johnson-Odom and Crowder combined for 29 first-half points as

the Golden Eagles ran out to a 43-29 halftime lead.

UConn (16-10, 6-8) cut that to four points early in the second

half, but lost its momentum when guard Ryan Boatright was called

for technical foul during a timeout.

”I think that was the turning point,” Johnson-Odom said. ”We

were able to get two free throws and the ball back and Jae hit a

big three after that.”

Marquette, which lost 6-foot-11 center Chris Otule in December

and 6-8 Davante Gardner last month, both to knee injuries, had just

seven scholarship players available and nobody over 6-7. But they

outrebounded UConn 33-30, including 20-13 in the first half.

They also hit 10 of 22 shots from 3-point range, with Crowder

and Johnson-Odom each hitting four.

”We start a very quick lineup and we wanted to find a way to

get very easy transition points,” said Johnson-Odom.

Jeremy Lamb had 19 points to lead Connecticut, which fell to 2-3

in the five games coach Jim Calhoun has missed with back


A 3-pointer from Lamb and a dunk by Alex Oriakhi helped the

Huskies on a 10-1 run that cut the lead to 48-44.

But after Marquette called a timeout, Boatright began chirping

at Marquette guard Todd Mayo and picked up the technical foul. Two

free throws followed by Crowder’s 3-point shot brought the lead

back nine at 53-44.

”It’s just immature,” said UConn guard Shabazz Napier, a team

captain who called out his teammates after the game.

”I’ve got to question a lot of these guys’ hearts,” he said.

”It just looked out there like we gave up at the end.”

A driving layup by Crowder led to UConn center Andre Drummond’s

fifth foul, and the free throw gave Marquette a 75-63 lead just

under 3 minutes to play, ending any threat from the Huskies.

”(Crowder) is the heart and soul of our team,” said

Johnson-Odom who had 16 of his points before intermission. ”He

does a lot of things for us – rebounding, defending, getting

steals, whatever he does, it helps us a lot.”

Marquette, which has never finished better than fourth place in

the Big East, came in tied with Notre Dame for second place in the

conference. The top four teams get a double bye in the


”Winning five games in a row is tough,” said Crowder. ”UConn

did it last year, so it’s possible, but with that double bye you

have a greater chance, so that’s what we’re striving for.”

The Golden Eagles have won four of their last five games in

Connecticut and three in a row. The road team has won the last five

meetings between the two schools.

Connecticut beat DePaul by 26 points on Wednesday, but has now

lost seven of its last nine games and has won just four times since

Jan. 1.

Coach Jim Calhoun has missed eight games so far this season,

three because of an NCAA suspension for recruiting violations and

the last five after taking an indefinite medical leave with spinal

stenosis. The school has said he will miss at least one more game,

Monday night at Villanova.

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spine, normally associated

with aging and sometimes with arthritis. Calhoun is currently

trying non-surgical treatments, and expects to know if they are

successful by the middle of next week.