R.J. Cole will look to score in double figures for the ninth straight game as No. 20 UConn faces Marquette on Tuesday in Milwaukee.
Cole has averaged 18.5 points over the past eight games and is averaging a team-best 16.0 on the season. He has scored at least 10 points in 10 of 12 games this season.
UConn (9-3, 0-1 Big East) dropped a 57-53 decision to Providence on Saturday in the Big East opener for both teams. Cole paced the Huskies with 16 points and eight assists.
Tyrese Martin added 15 points, Isaiah Whaley chipped in 10 and Andre Jackson finished with eight points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
“Getting down 16 in a game like this is where we lost the game,” UConn head coach Dan Hurley said. “Credit Providence. Guys, I think they screwed us up in the first half with switching a lot of things, which is something that we’ve had some difficulty with and they hadn’t shown prior to this game.”
Hurley had to rely on his starters, who scored 49 of the team’s 53 points. The team’s bench players have scored 10 points or fewer in two of the last three games.
The Huskies finished with their lowest field goal percentage (31.1 percent) and third-lowest 3-point percentage (27.6 percent) of the season against the Friars. When UConn records a field goal percentage over 40.0 percent, it is 9-0.
Marquette (8-4, 0-1) is coming off an 80-71 road loss against No. 22 Xavier on Saturday.
Greg Elliott followed up a 22-point performance against UCLA with a team-high 18 off the bench versus the Musketeers. Justin Lewis collected 15 points and seven rebounds, and Darryl Morsell notched 14 points.
“For us, really proud of the way that our guys fought and clawed when we got down in the second half,” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart said. “We made a few too many mistakes to be able to win a game like this against Xavier on their home floor, and it stings right now in our locker room. We’re going to have to really, really get close with that tape, and see what’s under our control that we can do better.”
Fouls killed the Golden Eagles, as they committed 25 on the afternoon to send the Musketeers to the charity stripe 35 times.
The rebounding battle also proved to be critical, as Marquette was edged 45-39 on the boards. The Golden Eagles have now been outdone on the glass in each of their past four games.
The Golden Eagles have dropped three of their past four games and have recorded back-to-back losses for the first time this season. Although they fell to Xavier in their Big East opener, Smart said he thinks the game was a good learning experience for his young squad.
“It’s exciting, with the guys that we have, how much we can improve from a game like today,” Smart said.
Tuesday’s game will mark the 12th all-time meeting between UConn and the Golden Eagles. Marquette holds a 6-5 record in the series, but is 2-3 on its home floor against the Huskies.
–Field Level Media