When the Titanic sunk, it was because of the fact it hit an large iceberg. With the UConn Huskies men's basketball team's ship back afloat after a nice game against DePaul, they were looking to keep it that way against the Marquette Golden Eagles.
But that was not in the script for UConn. Instead, they find themselves taking on water again.
Jae Crowder's double-double helped the Golden Eagles to a 79-64 win in front of a sold-out crowd and nationally televised audience on Saturday afternoon at the XL Center in Hartford, CT.
The Huskies fall to 16-10 (6-8 Big East). The Golden Eagles improve to 22-5 (11-3).
Jeremy Lamb led the way for the Huskies with 19 points and seven rebounds. Shabazz Napier added 11 points, three rebounds, eight assists and four assists. Both Alex Oriakhi and Ryan Boatright had 10 points with Oriakhi pulling down three boards and Boatright had two.
Crowder's 29 points and 12 rebounds paced the Golden Eagles while Darius Johnson-Odom had 24 points, three rebounds and three assists. Todd Mayo added 10 points while Junior Cadougan had eight assists.
UConn did their best to keep this one close early on in the game. After a Lamb jumper cut the Golden Eagles lead to 12-11, they used a 5-0 run to push their lead back to six points. After the teams exchanged baskets, the Huskies worked the Marquette lead back down to two points at 20-18.
With Marquette holding on to a five point lead at 27-22 after a Napier jumper, they would use an 11-2 run to open up a 14 point lead and silence the XL Center crowd. After a Roscoe Smith old-fashioned three point play, the Golden Eagles rattled off five straight points before Smith would hit a jumper late in the half to make it 43-29.
UConn would battle back in the second half cutting the lead to four at 48-44 on a 10-1 run. But then Boatright made a freshman mistake.
As the two teams were heading to their respective benches, Boatright was chirping at Mayo and was called for a technical foul. Johnson-Odom would hit the two free throws and on the ensuing possession, Crowder would nail a three and just like that Marquette held a nine point lead.
UConn would score the next four points to get the Golden Eagles lead back down to five points but that's as close as the Huskies would get the rest of the way.
To me it looked once again like guys began to give up when things got really tough. This is unacceptable and I'm hoping the coaches saw it too.
This team has all the talent in the world. The problem is that they don't know how to use it. We've seen the flashes of it, ie the DePaul win and we've seen the other side (ie the Louisville loss).
When it looks like somebody is going to step up and be a leader (Boatright), he goes and makes a stupid mistake. So now it's back to square one for the Huskies.
They probably need to win their final four games and win at least one or two in the Big East Tournament to make it to the NCAA Tournament. The good thing is that for the most part, the schedule is their favor. They play a down Villanova, Syracuse, Providence and Pittsburgh. There's definitely three winnable games in there and they know they can play with Syracuse.
First up for the Huskies is a matchup with the Villanova Wildcats on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game will be nationally televised on ESPN.
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Notes and musings:
The starting five for the Huskies consisted of Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Jeremy Lamb, Alex Oriakhi and Andre Drummond.
UConn shot 45.3% (24-53) from the floor for the game while the Golden Eagle shot 44.4% (24-54).
The Huskies had just 11 assists on their 24 made baskets.
UConn was 4-of-10 (40%) from beyond the arc. On the contrary, Marquette was 10-of-22 (45.5%).
The Huskies were 12-of-21 (57.1%) from the charity stripe. That's just pathetic. That CAN'T happen in a Big East game.
Despite having nobody over 6'7", the Golden Eagles outrebound UConn 33-30.
Marquette outscored the Huskies 26-24 in the paint and 13-11 on the fast break.
The Golden Eagles had nine second chance points to seven for UConn.
The Huskies had 10 points off of 10 Marquette turnovers. The Golden Eagles had 15 points off of 12 UConn turnovers.
Photo credit: Brad Horrigan - Hartford Courant (No. 18 in gallery)