MILWAUKEE — Marquette guard Junior Cadougan buried a fallaway 3-pointer at the buzzer of regulation to force overtime and, eventually, propel the Golden Eagles to a 82-76 win in the Big East opener Tuesday night at the Bradley Center.
Prior to Cadougan’s back-breaker, Marquette was 0-for-14 from 3-point range.
STAR OF THE GAME: Shabazz Napier, reluctant to shoot from the perimeter early, was prolific down the stretch, reeling off 11 points in just over three minutes to tie the score, 57-57. Two Napier free throws with 4:20 remaining put UConn ahead 65-64. For the game, UConn’s junior guard tallied 29 points and eight rebounds, the best all-around effort of his career.
KEY TO THE WIN: UConn had no answer for Marquette’s 6-foot-8, 290-pound Devante Gardner, who piled up 18 points on just seven field goal attempts (he was 10-for-10 fom the line). The big man bullied Tyler Olander, Enosch Wolf, Phil Nolan and any double-team the Huskies brought.
*Before Cadougan saved the day, Ryan Boatright connected on a highly-difficult clutch shot of his own. His turnaround jumper with less than 10 seconds to go gave UConn a 69-66 lead.
*The Golden Eagles started the second half on a 7-0 run, which opened a 37-27 lead. Marquette center Chris O’Tule—not quite as effective as Gardner—hit a left-handed hook shot over Olander to give the Golden Eagles their first double-digit advantage. After a UConn run, Marquette opened up another 10-point lead on a Jamil Wilson baseline jumper with 11:40 remaining.
*DeAndre Daniels, yanked in the first minute, gave UConn solid production offensively (11 points in limited action), but didn’t contribute much on the glass. His chin, which was injured during Saturday’s win over Washington, started to bleed following a second half foul. He did not return until the end of overtime.
*UConn gave up 10 offensive rebounds in the first half, but just one in the second and overtime.
Up Next: vs. DePaul, Jan. 8