MILWAUKEE – Freshman Jeremy Lamb had a career-best 24 points and No. 5 Connecticut overcame a tough shooting game from Kemba Walker with a 13-0 run late in the second half to beat Marquette 76-68 on Tuesday night.
Connecticut (17-2, 5-2 Big East) won its third road game in five tries this season after going 2-10 away from home last season. The Huskies proved to be too tough down the stretch, holding Marquette (13-8, 4-4) without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes.
Walker finished with a season-low 14 points on 5-of-16 shooting. The dynamic junior guard came in averaging 25 points per game, second in the nation, but still had a big impact with nine assists and six rebounds.
Jimmy Butler scored 21 points for Marquette.
Butler's effort couldn't overcome the Huskies' freshmen — Lamb, Shabazz Napier and Roscoe Smith — who helped put Connecticut over the top in a back-and-forth second half.
Trailing 60-55, Lamb, Napier and Walker took control.
Lamb hit two jumpers, Napier made a 3-pointer and Walker added two tough baskets that made it 68-60 with 2:26 left and the Golden Eagles never got closer than six points the rest of the way. Smith and Napier finished with 11 points apiece.
Marquette took a five-point lead with a 13-3 spurt capped when Butler grabbed an offensive rebound, scored and was fouled to make it 56-51 with 11:24 left. But that was Marquette's last field goal until Darius Johnson-Odom's layup cut Connecticut's lead to 70-63 with 1:47 to play.
Johnson-Odom finished with 18 points, Dwight Buycks had 13 and Jae Crowder 10 for the Golden Eagles. Every time Marquette made a run to erase Connecticut's lead, the Huskies would battle back.
Marquette tied the game at 43 early in the second half, but Walker found Lamb in the left corner for a 3-pointer, then Charles Okwandu, who finished with 10 rebounds, started a fast break that ended with Walker splitting the defense with a sprawling layup, setting the stage for the Golden Eagles' final push.
Butler went over 1,000 points with his first basket of the game late in the first half to become the 42nd player in school history to reach the milestone.
After road losses to ranked opponents Pittsburgh and Notre Dame, Connecticut beat then-No. 12 Texas in overtime and overwhelmed DePaul before this victory.