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UConn men’s basketball tops Villanova, 74-66

The Huskies were in control most of the way, though the visitors did a good job of staying in the game.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

On a spirited night at the XL Center in Hartford, UConn men’s basketball notched its 14th victory of the season by taking down Villanova, 74-66.

Jordan Hawkins was the star of the show with 22 points for the Huskies, who only had two other double-digit scorers: Alex Karaban, who delivered a balanced 15 points, and Andre Jackson, who got 10 points on an inefficient 3-of-11 shooting performance. The other star was the UConn defense, which forced 18 turnovers that led to 21 points.

UConn seemed to be in control from the start until Adama Sanogo picked up his second foul with 8:12 left in the first half. At the time the Huskies were up 18-14 and as a result, the rest of the first half was probably closer than it should have been.

UConn’s reserves held strong and Hawkins kept pouring it in, but Dan Hurley’s squad only held a one-point lead at the break.

Early in the second half, Villanova grabbed a quick lead but the Huskies erased it just as fast. Sanogo got back in the mix, finishing with seven points after getting just two in the first half, while Hassan Diarra and Donovan Clingan provided a spark off the bench. Both were scoreless in the first half but finished with six points each.

After two straight Clingan buckets, the XL Center crowd erupted, UConn’s lead got to 10 points and it set the stage for the Huskies to ultimately cruise to victory.

Next up, the Huskies visit Xavier on New Year’s Eve, for a noon game that will be televised on FOX.