Commentary

Instant Analysis: UConn-Marquette

Originally Published: February 25, 2009
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com

MILWAUKEE -- ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg provides instant analysis from No. 2 Connecticut's 93-82 win at No. 10 Marquette on Wednesday night.

GAME ANALYSIS: In a game featuring four runs of 8-0 or better, Connecticut delivered the final punch thanks to dominant performances by guard A.J. Price and forward Stanley Robinson. The Huskies held off a gutsy Marquette team playing most of the game without senior guard Dominic James and snapped the Golden Eagles' 17-game home win streak. Jim Calhoun became the seventh men's basketball coach in Division I history to record 800 career victories as the Huskies maintained their perfect road record (13-0) this season.

Connecticut beat Marquette at its own game, hitting 11 3-pointers in the victory. The Huskies supplemented their outside attack by attacking the basket in the second half. Marquette hung tough without James, whose college career is likely over after he suffered a broken bone in his left foot early in the first half. But the Golden Eagles simply couldn't shut down Price or Robinson when it counted.

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: After Marquette continued to answer runs, Connecticut took control in the final seven minutes as the Huskies' big men stepped up to augment Price's phenomenal outside shooting. Robinson repeatedly attacked the rim, putting back two misses, drawing fouls and converting back-to-back three-point plays to cap a 10-0 run. After a slow start, Huskies center Hasheem Thabeet finished with 14 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks. Price then put the game away by sinking his eighth 3-pointer with 1:15 left.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Price, a senior guard from Amityville, N.Y., set career highs in points (36) and 3-pointers (8). That 36-point tally was the most by a UConn player in a Big East game since Richard Hamilton had 39 against BC in January 1999. Price was brilliant in the first half, draining 6 of 7 shots, 4 of 5 from 3-point range. He answered every Marquette burst with a long-range buzz kill. He added six rebounds and six assists in the victory.

[+] EnlargeStanley Robinson
AP Photo/Darren HauckStanley Robinson posted a double-double (19 pts, 10 rebs) and had several key baskets down the stretch.
PLAYER OF THE GAME II: Robinson, a junior from Birmingham, Ala., continued a nice stretch with his best game of the season. Robinson contributed 19 points (a career high in Big East play) and 10 rebounds for the Huskies. He stung Marquette from the perimeter and from the paint.

STAT OF THE GAME: After going just 9-of-32 from 3-point range in the previous three games, Connecticut regained its stroke in a big way, connecting on 11 of 22 shots from distance. The eight made by Price were just one shy of the school record.

MY LEFT FOOT: James, Marquette's starting point guard, left the game early in the first half with that broken bone in his foot. He's out indefinitely. The senior made 1 of 2 shot attempts and played only four minutes. With the NCAA tournament beginning in less than a month, the injury could end James' tremendous career.

DROPPING DIMES: When coach Calhoun took the floor, Marquette's student section was ready for him. Responding to Calhoun's postgame rant Saturday after a freelance journalist questioned the coach about his salary, two students held up giant paper dimes with Calhoun's face in the middle. The replica coins read, United States of America, Not One Dime.

OFF KEY: Marquette guards James, Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews have been in sync for the past four years, but when it comes to singing, the group needs work. In a pregame video, the three guards, along with fellow senior Dwight Burke, sang their rendition of Boyz II Men's "End of the Road," possibly in preparation for Senior Day. Let's just say their play is easier on the eyes than their singing is on the ears.

WHAT IT MEANS: Connecticut should regain the nation's No. 1 ranking with a home victory Saturday against Notre Dame. The Huskies have a half-game lead in the Big East standings, but likely need a win at Pitt to secure the title. Marquette continues a torturous stretch without James. The Golden Eagles likely need another signature win or two to secure a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR UCONN: The Huskies return home to face a bubble-dwelling Notre Dame team looking for a signature road win. The Irish snapped a seven-game Big East road losing streak Saturday at Providence and rallied for a win against Rutgers on Wednesday. Connecticut then has a week off before visiting top-ranked Pitt in a game that could decide the Big East regular-season championship.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR MARQUETTE: One of the nation's toughest stretches continues as Marquette visits No. 6 Louisville on Sunday before traveling to a steamed Pitt team that should lose its No. 1 ranking next week. The Golden Eagles then wrap up regular-season play against a Syracuse team looking for another signature win. Including Wednesday's game against UConn, Marquette boasts the nation's toughest remaining schedule, facing opponents with a combined winning percentage of .837.

Adam Rittenberg covers college football and college basketball for ESPN.com.

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