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No. 18 Marquette on a roll, No. 24 UConn up next

Justin Lewis looks to continue his impressive showing against Big East opponents Tuesday night as No. 18 Marquette travels to Hartford, Conn., for a meeting with No. 24 UConn.

Lewis is averaging 17.7 points and eight rebounds in conference play, both of which lead the Golden Eagles. He is shooting 44 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from beyond the arc. The efficient shooting numbers have helped Marquette (16-7, 8-4 Big East) win eight of nine, with the only defeat coming by a basket at league-leading Providence.

Marquette is coming off an 83-73 win over then-No. 12 Villanova on Wednesday night, its sixth win over a Top 25 opponent this season. Lewis led all scorers with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go along with nine rebounds. Tyler Kolek added 18 points and six assists, and Darryl Morsell chipped in 15 points.

"Really proud of our guys for the way that they hung in there," Marquette coach Shaka Smart said. "I felt like that was a game that there was several times where we could have let go of the rope. We just kept fighting. Villanova deserves a lot of credit. They just wouldn't go away."

The win marked the Golden Eagles' first regular-season sweep of the Wildcats since 2011-12.

Through games of Feb. 5, no team in the country has more than Marquette's seven Quadrant 1 victories this season, according to the NCAA NET Basketball Rankings, and the Eagles will be going for number eight against UConn.

The Huskies (15-6, 6-4) did not fare as well against Villanova, and are coming off an 85-74 loss to the Wildcats in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon. Connecticut trailed by as many as 23 in the second half and never managed to fully mount a comeback.

R.J. Cole scored a game-high 25 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Tyrese Martin and Adama Sanogo each added 14 points, and Jordan Hawkins tallied nine off the bench.

"We got away from our identity as a defensive minded team," coach Dan Hurley said according to the Hartford Courant. "They (Wildcats) were great, sharp. If you make a mistake anywhere, you turn your head and you ball-watch, you close out soft, they take advantage of it."

Despite the loss, Cole continued his stellar play and has been the most consistent piece in Hurley's rotation all season. The 6-foot-1 guard has scored in double figures in 16 of his last 17 games. Take away his foul-plagued effort at Butler (four points), and he has averaged 18.2 points against Big East opponents.

UConn could be without Akok Akok on Tuesday after the redshirt junior missed the game against Villanova with a foot ailment. Akok is averaging 3.9 points and 3.6 rebounds through 20 games played.

With the loss, the Huskies have now dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season after falling to Creighton on Feb. 1. Connecticut had won its previous five games prior to the losing skid.

Tuesday's contest will complete the season series between Marquette and the Huskies. UConn won the first meeting in Milwaukee, 78-70, behind 25 points from Martin and 20 from Cole.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 7, 2022

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