Marquette sends UConn packing, advances to Big East Championship recreation

NEW YORK — On Thursday night, following UConn’s Big East quarterfinal win over Providence, Dan Hurley did not maintain again:

“This is our place. We own MSG.”

For a 3rd straight season, the Huskies are going residence following the Big East semis. Marquette held off Connecticut in a basic, 70-68 in entrance of 19,812 at Madison Square Garden on Friday night time to advance to this system’s first Big East championship recreation look in program historical past. Despite not scoring within the remaining 3:42 of motion, the Golden Eagles received it with 5 consecutive stops to shut the sport out. That protection was a product of the fireplace lit underneath Shaka Smart’s staff after studying Thursday’s commentary from Connecticut.

“Well, it was a short stay in their (UConn’s) second home,” Marquette sophomore Kam Jones (14 factors, six rebounds) stated following the win. “We wish them a safe trip back to their first home.”

“It felt like a lot of people were giving UConn the game coming in,” Smart stated. “And there were comments made about who owns the Garden and that kind of stuff. And, you know, we said wait a minute, we won this league. So we’re not taking a back seat to anybody.”

How did Marquette win the sport? They flipped the script on their protection of Jordan Hawkins. The UConn star sharpshooter, who shot 5-for-8 from past the arc and scored 20 factors within the final assembly between the groups on Feb. 7, scored simply 5 factors on 2-for-11 from the ground in Friday’s loss.

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“We can beat UConn with their bigs scoring some twos around the basket,” Smart stated. “We can win the game like we did tonight. I don’t know if we can beat them if Hawkins goes and makes five, six threes. Our guys stayed attached to him.”

With the lead at 4 with 15:41 left, Big East Sixth Man of the Year David Joplin bought cooking, hitting a triple adopted by three straight free throws to develop the result in 10. The sophomore completed with 17 factors, his first recreation in double figures since Jan. 28.

The Marquette backcourt additionally stepped up because it’s normally achieved on this 27-6 trip, with Tyler Kolek ending with 17 factors, six assists and 4 rebounds whereas Jones totaled 14 and 6 rebounds.

It bears noting as properly: With star massive man Oso Ighodaro coping with foul bother, Golden Eagles freshman Ben Gold delivered a clutch 9 minutes off the bench.

“At one point, I looked out, and we got a bunch of freshmen and sophomores out there fighting, battling, scratching for their lives,” Smart stated. “These guys didn’t blink. These guys, if you cut them open, you’ll find inside them championship DNA. It’s exciting because these guys are just in their sophomore year. We’ve got three freshmen out there playing significant minutes.”

[Shaka Smart and Marquette: The perfect fit at the perfect time]

On the flip facet, it marked the third consecutive 12 months that Connecticut misplaced within the Big East Tournament semifinals. 

“It’s a frustrating thing for us, and I’ll speak for where we are,” Dan Hurley stated of the 25-8 Huskies, who’re a 3-seed in Mike Decourcy’s newest bracket forecast. “Just to be back in the semis for the third straight year and, I mean, three pretty excruciating losses. We were hell-bent on playing for a championship tomorrow. I think there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that we were going to, with all due respect to Marquette, we know how outstanding they are. They got a chance to be a Final Four team this year or better.”

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The Golden Eagles are the youngest staff within the Big East. They are 40 minutes away from successful the convention match for the primary time in program historical past.

John Fanta is a nationwide faculty basketball broadcaster and author for FOX Sports. He covers the game in a wide range of capacities, from calling video games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to offering commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta.

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