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MENS BASKETBALL


Connecticut 88, Butler 81

Connecticut 88, Butler 81

BY CHRIS GOFF
ASSOCIATED PRESS

INDIANAPOLIS - Alex Karaban scored 20 points, Tristen Newton added 17 and No. 4 UConn came back to beat Butler 88-81 for its third straight victory without injured center Donovan Clingan.

The Huskies (13-2, 3-1 Big East) trailed 42-35 at halftime but shot 55% from the field overall in front of a sellout crowd on the road. Freshman guard Stephon Castle finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Cam Spencer also scored 14, including a critical 3-pointer that made it 83-76 with 48.1 seconds left.

DJ Davis had 22 points, Pierre Brooks II scored 19 and Jamyl Telfort added 16 for the Bulldogs (10-5, 1-3), who shot 47% and were outrebounded 33-24.

UConn improved to 8-0 in the all-time series, which began with a meeting in the 2011 NCAA championship game.

Connecticut roared back in the second half with a 15-4 run, capped by a 3 from Karaban, to go ahead 54-50 with 12:07 remaining. Hassan Diarra’s fast-break layup made it 73-65 with 5:21 left, UConn’s largest lead of the game.

BIG PICTURE

UConn: The defending national champions are displaying their potential to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament even in the absence of Clingan. The 7-foot-2 sophomore averages 13.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, but the Huskies are showing they are a complete team even without him. Fill-in starter Samson Johnson contributed eight points and six boards.

Butler: The Bulldogs have exceeded the expectations some had for them so far this season, but they are struggling on defense lately. During a three-game losing streak, Butler has allowed 86.3 points per game. All three opponents have shot at least 50% from the floor.


January 5, 2024





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