NEW YORK (AP) — Marquette guard Markus Howard is the Big East player of the year after leading the conference in scoring and helping the Golden Eagles to a second-place finish in the regular season.

Jay Wright, who guided Villanova to its fifth regular-season conference title in six seasons, was named Big East coach of the year for the sixth time. Georgetown guard James Akinjo was voted freshmen of the year. All awards were voted on by the league's head coaches.

The 5-foot-11 Howard was averaging 25 points per game entering the Big East Tournament, which began Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. The junior from Arizona also leads the Big East in 3-pointers made with 112 and shot 41.4 percent from beyond the arc. Howard is also a finalist for the Wooden Award, given to the national player of the year.

He is the second Marquette player to be named Big East player of the joining Jae Crowder, who won the award in 2011-12.

Wright led Villanova to a 22-9 record after losing four players off last season's national championship team to the NBA draft.

Akinjo was averaging 13.3 points and 5.4 assists per game and is the first Georgetown player to win the award since Greg Monroe in 2008-09.


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