Marquette Set to Visit No. 24 Connecticut

UConn has won 18 straight at the Hartford Civic Center and 14 at Gampel


Jan. 9, 2007

Playing at home has given Connecticut a considerable advantage over the previous two seasons, and it might just be what the team needs to rebound from a disappointing road loss.

The 24th-ranked Huskies look extend their school-record home winning streak to 32 games when they host Marquette on Wednesday at Gampel Pavilion.

Of 12 home games the Huskies (12-2, 1-1 Big East) have played this season, their season-opening 53-46 victory over Quinnipiac was the only one not decided by at least 16 points. They haven't lost at home since a 77-70 defeat to then-No. 2 North Carolina on Feb. 13, 2005.

This home winning streak, which includes 18 victories at the Hartford Civic Center and 14 at Gampel Pavilion, is the second-longest in the nation behind Gonzaga's 46-game run.

Connecticut, though, is returning home after a 66-49 loss to No. 13 LSU on Saturday. It was the team's most lopsided loss since a 94-79 defeat to Marquette on Jan. 3, 2006, in the only meeting between these programs.

While Saturday's defeat dropped UConn six spots in the rankings, the Golden Eagles (13-4, 0-2) have fallen out of the poll for the first time all season following consecutive losses to Providence and Syracuse.

Poor shooting has been a major problem for both teams lately.

UConn has been held below 40 percent from the field in two of its last three games - road losses to West Virginia and LSU. The Huskies shot 29.2 percent (7-for-24) in the second half on Saturday.

"They defended the hell out of us," coach Jim Calhoun said of LSU, which forced the Huskies into 19 turnovers.

Marquette, meanwhile, shot a combined 34.4 percent from the floor while opening 0-2 in conference play. The Golden Eagles hit at least 50 percent in each of their previous three games.

"We've got to have some individual soul-searching on how much more time we're going to spend outside of practice, things of that nature," Marquette coach Tom Crean said.

Crean's team now faces a Connecticut squad which is holding opponents to 35.0 percent shooting, tied for second-best in Division I. The Huskies are allowing 57.1 points per game, and the Golden Eagles are looking to avoid being held below 60 for a third consecutive game.

Struggles on offense were of greater concern to UConn following its most recent outing. Leading scorer Jerome Dyson was the only Huskies player to score in double figures against LSU with 12 points. Sophomores Jeff Adrien and A.J. Price, combining to average nearly 25 points per game, accounted for only 11 on 4-of-21 shooting Saturday.

Price has totaled only 20 points over the last three games, shooting 7-of-27 from the field.

Connecticut is hoping to avoid losing consecutive games for the first time since February 2004.

Marquette is coming off back-to-back conference losses for the first time in in Crean's eight seasons at the helm.

Sunday's 70-58 home loss to Syracuse saw the Golden Eagles go 6-for-15 at the free-throw line and get outscored 15-3 in the final 4 minutes.

Guard Dominic James, who leads the team with 16.1 points per game, was held to a season-low six points. He missed all seven of his 3-point attempts and Marquette was 4-for-21, three days after going 4-for-23 from beyond the arc in a 74-59 loss at Providence.

"It's just a matter of time before the shots start falling," said guard Jerel McNeal, who had a team-leading 16 points Sunday.

McNeal had 19 points and 12 rebounds in last year's win over Connecticut.

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