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No. 4 UConn Men’s Basketball outlasts Georgetown, 80-67

Alex Karaban tied a career high with 26 points as the Huskies notched their fifth consecutive win.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn men’s basketball did what few teams at the top of the AP Poll have done this week: beat an inferior opponent. The Huskies dispatched the Georgetown Hoyas, 80-67, to improve to 15-2 and 5-1 in the Big East. The Huskies have now won five in a row without star center Donovan Clingan, though he may be coming back soon.

The world’s greatest shooter was in attendance today. And also Ray Allen. Alex Karaban did his best for the guest of honor, tying a career-high 26 points while hitting 6-of-8 threes. Cam Spencer added 20 with five threes of his own, while Stephon Castle scored 14 points along with four rebounds and four assists. It was UConn’s seventh straight win against Georgetown and now puts the Huskies up in the all-time series, 37-36.

The entire game was devoid of momentum, thanks to a very frequent whilstle. Some of that was UConn once again struggling to contain dribble drives, but some of it was incredibly erratic Big East officiating, which didn’t cover itself in glory today, with 63 combined free throw attempts. Hurley had words for the refereeing during and after the game.

For Georgetown, Fairfield transfer Supreme Cook feasted inside, with 12 of Georgetown’s first 14 points. Dan Hurley was shown in the huddle imploring his team: “We’re fortunate we haven't given up more at the rim. How about we get a clean defensive rebound?” Samson Johnson picked up two quick fouls, which meant the small lineup featuring Hassan Diarra and Jaylin Stewart arrived earlier than it had in recent games.

It never got truly scary though, thanks to five Karaban triples that jolted a sleepy Hartford crowd. Despite 19 first-half points from the star sophomore and a significant shooting advantage (52%-29%), UConn entered the break only up nine, thanks in part to 22 Georgetown free throws. That was the most free throws in a half in any Big East game since 2018.

Despite the Karaban masterclass, the Huskies could never find that knockout punch. Every time UConn looked ready to cover the 19.5-point spread, Jay Heath, Jayden Epps or Cook responded. And every time Georgetown brought it near a two-possession game, Castle, Spencer, or Diarra would hit a timely bucket.

Cook fouled out with 6:21 left, and UConn took its largest lead with 3:30 remaining.

The performance won’t be hung in the Louvre, but with the entire college basketball world succumbing to anarchy, grinding out a sloppy game with winning plays is the mark of an elite team.

Tomorrow, the Huskies could earn their first AP No. 1 ranking since February 2009. They’ll have a tough first test defending it in their next game, when Creighton comes to town on Wednesday at 7:00 pm in a game that will be televised on FS1.