HARTFORD, Conn. (AP)UConn appears to have its mojo back.
Jordan Hawkins scored 20 points and Tristen Newton recorded his second triple-double of the season as No. 21 Connecticut ran away from No. 10 Marquette 87-72 on Tuesday night.
Newton had 12 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for the Huskies (19-6, 8-6 Big East), who won their third straight game after losing six of eight. They started the season 14-0, rising to No. 2 in the AP Top 25.
”Teams go through tough stretches during the course of the season,” coach Dan Hurley said. ”The bottom line is we’re 19-6. You know, we beat some of the best teams in the country.”
Adama Sanogo added 18 points, while Alex Karaban and Nahiem Alleyne each chipped in with 13 for Connecticut, which never trailed.
Tyler Kolek had 17 points to lead Marquette (19-6, 11-3), which had its five-game winning streak snapped. Ben Gold and Stevie Mitchell each scored 12.
The Huskies outrebounded Marquette 48-24 and used 21 offensive boards to help them get 27 second-chance points. The Huskies also had 20 assists on 31 baskets, while holding Marquette to just seven assists.
UConn opened the game on a 22-6 run, highlighted by a fast-break lob from Newton to Andre Jackson for a dunk that brought the crowd to its feet. The Huskies made their first four 3-point shots, three by Hawkins, who had 14 points in the first half.
A hook shot by Sanogo gave UConn its first 20-point lead at 32-12 .
A late first-half run by Marquette cut the margin to 43-29, but Alleyne hit a 3-pointer from almost half court to send UConn into the break with a 17-point cushion.
Another 3-pointer from Alleyne gave the Huskies a 59-38 lead in the second half.
UConn led by 25 before Marquette went on an 8-0 run to pull within 17. But the Golden Eagles never threatened to get back in the game.
”We won two or three games in January,” Hawkins said. ”It was definitely a tough stretch, definitely going to shake your confidence. But you just have to stay the course, trust the process and that’s what we did and that’s what we’re going to continue to do during this last stretch.”
Marquette: The Golden Eagles had won nine of 10. They are trying to win a regular-season conference title after being picked ninth in the preseason poll by the league’s coaches.
UConn: Entered 1-5 against the top five teams in the Big East and 1-3 versus ranked opponents. UConn lost 82-76 at Marquette on Jan. 11 after leading by 11 points in the first half.
”The rankings mean nothing,” Marquette coach Shaka Smart said. ”It’s amazing the disparity – no disrespect to anyone here – between what the ranking means to media and fans in the middle of a season and what it means to players and coaches. It just doesn’t mean anything.”
BACK FROM INJURY
Marquette’s Sean Jones, who missed the previous three games with a wrist injury, had 11 points in just over 19 minutes. He came down hard on the wrist in the second half, but appeared to shake it off and continued playing.
Newton’s first triple-double came in November against Buffalo, when he had 22 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. He joined Shabazz Napier as the only Huskies players to get more than one.
”My amigos right here, they were going crazy hitting shots,” Newton said. ”They were boxing out and I was getting the rebound, so I just had the easy job, just get them the ball.”
Marquette: At last-place Georgetown on Saturday.
UConn: Will visit No. 23 Creighton on Saturday.
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