UConn men’s basketball ended a rough month of January on a high note Tuesday night, defeating the DePaul Blue Demons 90-76 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. With the win, the No. 24 Huskies (16-6, 6-6 Big East) are back at .500 in conference play.
Despite a six-day break since the last game, it was another inconsistent outing for UConn, this time featuring a strong first half but struggles for chunks of the second.
After leading by as much as 20 points, UConn let DePaul cut the lead to as little as six with 10 minutes to play before a four-point play from Tristen Newton gave the Huskies some breathing room.
The Huskies looked off at first, too, as the Blue Demons’ Javan Johnson torched the defense for 10 points in the first six minutes before fizzling out. UConn took the lead for good on a jumper from Newton after Johnson’s last basket of the half and never looked back.
The Huskies leaned on stars Adama Sanogo and Jordan Hawkins to get the offense going, with Sanogo scoring 12 first-half points in just nine minutes of play due to foul trouble. Hawkins carried the load with Sanogo on the bench, scoring 15 of his game-high 26 in the first half and helping UConn take a 46-33 lead into halftime.
The Huskies started the second half aggressively and did a good job of getting to the foul line, scoring six of their first 13 points from the charity stripe. UConn would stretch the lead to 20 after yet another easy bucket from Sanogo, who had no trouble finding space in the DePaul defense. Despite the deficit, DePaul kept fighting and clawed back to within nine after a 10-0 run with 12 minutes to play.
From there, Newton stopped the bleeding.
The ECU transfer hit a jumper to stop the run and give UConn an 11-point cushion, but the Blue Demons got even closer with five-straight points to pull within six. From there, Newton’s four-point play put the lead back at double-digits. While DePaul stuck around for a little, the Huskies held on.
Newton finished the night with 21 points on 50 percent shooting from the field for his second-straight game with 20 or more points. Newton, Hawkins (26 points), and Sanogo (25) combined to nearly outscore DePaul on their own and scored all of the Huskies’ buckets in the final 17 minutes of play. No other UConn players eclipsed double figures.
While the defense looked lost at times, the Huskies forced 11 turnovers and blocked six shots, including an emphatic block by Hawkins in the second half. UConn also still dealt with foul trouble throughout the game, particularly with Sanogo and Karaban.
While Newton, Hawkins, and Sanogo did the heavy lifting, Nahiem Alleyne chipped in five points, his first game with more than one field goal in 2023. UConn also set season highs in free throw attempts (34) and makes (30), with Hawkins and Newton combining to shoot 20-22 from the line.
Up next, UConn is on the road once again, this time in Washington D.C. to take on Patrick Ewing and Georgetown Saturday at noon. The Huskies will look to win back-to-back games for the first time since starting the season 14-0 and the game will be broadcast on FS1.