No. 24 UConn men play with passion to defeat No. 18 Marquette, 80-72 | Sports

UConn coach Dan Hurley slid to center court, puffed out his chest and jumped to connect with Jordan Hawkins on a chest bump after the freshman 3 forced a time Marquette’s death. The UConn men’s basketball team was finally playing with a swagger that Hurley had wanted.

The No. 24 Huskies, led by Adama Sanogo’s 24 points, won brilliantly, 80-72, over the No. 18 Marquette at XL Center on Tuesday night. Tyrese Martin added 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field.

Sophomore Sanogo played with a deliberate goal from the point. He was aggressive early on with his shot attempts, and although he started off cold, he slowly found his rhythm. The forward showed a series of post moves, fought hard on the glass and drew defensive attention, leading to open 3s for the UConn shooters. His presence was felt at both ends of the field. He finished with 15 rebounds and shot 9 for 18 from the field.

Hurley wanted his team to play with energy and passion from the start and the Huskies answered the call. The first half had plenty of noteworthy moments, from Hawkins’ big 3’s to Sanogo’s dunks and more. Each basket seemed to spark a different celebration by UConn that had the crowd roaring.

UConn (16-6, 7-4 Big East) now sits third in the conference behind Providence and Villanova. That completes Marquette’s season sweep after beating them 78-70 on Dec. 21 at Fiserv Forum. The Golden Eagles, now 16-8 and 8-5 in the Big East, drop to fourth in the conference. It was UConn’s first win against a ranked team since beating Auburn 115-109 on Nov. 24.

Marquette’s Greg Elliot had 17 of 5 of 11 points from the field.

From the start, the game plan for UConn has focused on Sanogo getting on the offense early. He had no points on a shot attempt in the Huskies’ previous game against Villanova. At 18:09, the forward fought to recover the offensive rebound from his miss and scored a tough bucket through a swarm of Marquette defenders. At 8:04, Hawkins hit a 3 that put UConn ahead 26-21 and quickly prompted a Golden Eagles timeout. Over the next 2:07, the Huskies went on a 10-3 run to put them up 36-24. After a series of poorly shot games to start, UConn shot 20 for 34 (58.8%) from the field.

UConn’s defense limited the Golden Eagles from beyond the arc, who shot 4 for 13 of 3. The Huskies limited Marquette’s season leader Justin Lewis to four of 2 for 8 shooting from the field. The Huskies entered the half with a 46-36 lead.

Marquette entered the second half with renewed energy. At 1:43 p.m., Sanogo missed a wide-opening dunk that led to a rebound from Lewis and a 3 from Elliot, which caused UConn to time out as they led 53-50. The missed dunk led to a five-point swing. After the Golden Eagles cut the lead to one point, UConn appeared to tighten their defense. The Huskies went 8-0 to put themselves up 61-52. Every time Marquette came close to scoring, UConn would respond with their own run to give themselves some breathing room. With the Huskies leading by six, Martin hit a hard shot to put them eight. On the next play, Andre Jackson stole the ball on the inbound pass to put the game away with 1:47 to go.

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