for this game

Price's big night leads Connecticut past shorthanded Marquette

Feb 26, 2009 - 5:41 AM MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Jim Calhoun has had some big-time players during his standout career at Connecticut. A.J. Price has thrust his name into that conversation.

Price hit a career-best eight 3-pointers en route to a career-high 36 points as second-ranked Connecticut overcame No. 10 Marquette, 93-82, in a Big East Conference clash on Wednesday.

Hasheem Thabeet had 14 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks and Stanley Robinson scored 19 and pulled down 10 boards for the Huskies (26-2, 14-2 Big East), who pulled one-half game ahead of Louisville (13-2) for the top spot in the Big East.

Also, Calhoun became the seventh men's Division I coach to reach 800 career wins, accomplishing the feat in 1,138 games.

"Congratulation to coach Calhoun for his 800th victory," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. "He won his first game two months after I was born. He has won 74 percent of his games, he's a Hall of Fame coach. There are six coaches ahead of him and I predict that he will eclipse them and finish in the all-time leader in wins."

The Golden Eagles (23-5, 12-3) had a chance to pull even with Connecticut and Louisville in the standings but suffered an even bigger loss with a serious injury to Dominic James.

Marquette's leader in assists and steals, James suffered a fractured left foot in the opening minutes and may done for the remainder of the season.

"Dominic (James) broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot," Williams said. "His career at Marquette is over.

"We are hurtful as a program and hurtful as an institution for Dominic. He has been absolutely incredible throughout his career and for whatever reason in a selfish manner, I have developed an unbelievable relationship with him over the last 321 days. And I hate it for him as a person."

Despite the loss of their senior guard, the Golden Eagles did have a 74-73 edge after Jerel McNeal's jumper with 7:15 remaining. The Huskies then went on an 11-0 run to take control.

Marquette was within 84-81 following another jumper by McNeal with 2:32 to play, but Jeff Adrien was fouled grabbing an offensive rebound on UConn's next possession and sank two free throws.

Price's last 3-pointer made it 89-81 with 1:12 left.

The senior guard finished 8-of-13 from the arc in eclipsing his previous scoring high of 29 points in a win over Villanova on January 21. He also handed out six assists and grabbed six rebounds.

"I look what A.J. (Price) did, I think of Ben (Gordon), I think of Ray (Allen) , I think of Richard (Hamilton), some of the great players that we've had, just guys that we have had who could light up a gym," Calhoun said.

Although he finished with just four boards, Adrien did grab three on the offensive end as the Huskies went on to end up with a 46-26 advantage on the glass over the shorter Golden Eagles.

Improving to 10-0 on the road this season, UConn snapped Marquette's 17-game home winning streak.

"I thought it was one of the better performances and one of the harder performances for me as a coach because I had to go with my gut instinct, to get some of those kids into the game," Calhoun said. "I couldn't be more proud of our team."

McNeal finished with 26 points and Wesley Matthews added 20 for Marquette, which shot 11-of-21 (52 percent) and converted 17-of-20 free throws.

Despite the abrupt end of his career, James did not get down, opting to instruct and cheer on his team from the sideline with his foot wrapped up and walking on crutches.

"Basically just acting like a coach out there, just telling me what I needed to know what was the best thing to do on offense, how to guard defensively," guard Maurice Acker said. "It's a big loss, Dominic is one of the leaders on this team and in a big game like this we needed everybody because this team is so fragile. It's a big one but everybody will pick it up and we will get ready for the next one."

Expected to fill James' spot in the starting lineup, Acker had six points, four assists and three rebounds in 33 minutes.

Things will not get any easier for the Golden Eagles as they now go on the road for games at Louisville on Sunday and Pittsburgh on Wednesday.