Marquette fends off UConn to reach Big East final

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Chase Ross hit the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 6:14 remaining and Marquette dominated defensively in the final minutes to advance to the Big East tournament championship game with a hard-fought 70-68 victory over No. 11 UConn Friday night in New York.

The top-seeded Golden Eagles (27-6) won their eighth straight to earn a matchup with second-seeded Xavier in Saturday’s title game. The Musketeers routed Creighton 82-60 in the other semifinal game.

Marquette advanced to its first title game as a Big East member despite scoring three points in the final six-plus minutes of a back-and-forth affair.

Ross scored his only points 20 seconds after fourth-seeded UConn’s Alex Karaban converted a putback for a 64-64 tie. Ross went to the right corner and cleanly hit the 3 as UConn’s Jordan Hawkins was slow to defend the shot.

After the clutch shot, Olivier-Maxence Prosper made a 3 for a 70-66 lead with 3:42 remaining. The Huskies were within 70-68 on Adama Sanogo’s basket with 2:38 remaining, but neither team scored the rest of the way and the game ended when Hawkins airballed a 3 at the buzzer.

Tyler Kolek scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half while battling foul trouble. Key reserve David Joplin also finished with 17 while Kam Jones contributed 14 and Prosper chipped in 11.

Sanogo led the Huskies (25-8) with 19 points while Karaban and Nahiem Alleyne contributed 10 apiece. Hawkins was held to five points on 2-of-11 shooting, including 1-of-8 from behind the arc.

A back-and-forth opening half featured eight lead changes along with four ties. The half ended in a 38-38 tie when Tristen Newton found Karaban for an open corner 3 with four seconds left.

Marquette opened a 48-42 lead when Kolek connected with Stevie Mitchell for a layup with 16:55, resulting in UConn using a 30-second timeout. The lead reached 56-46 when Joplin sank three free throws with 14:45 left, but the Huskies were within 58-57 on a layup by Clingan with 10:01 left and then forged a 60-60 tie on Joey Calcaterra’s 3-pointer with 9:26 to go.

Marquette snapped the tie when Jones buried a deep 3 from the top of the key over Calcaterra and Alleyne with 7:54 remaining. Karaban’s putback forged a 64-64 deadlock with 6:34 remaining.

–Field Level Media

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Field Level Media was founded by sports media executives with more than 40 years of combined experience working with the most influential media companies in the industry.

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