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No. 1 UConn men’s basketball obliterates Xavier, 99-56

The Huskies looked invincible in a blowout win, one of their largest wins ever in Big East play.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

The top-ranked UConn men’s basketball team showed no signs of rust after a week’s rest, annihilating the Xavier Musketeers, 99-56, on Sunday at the XL Center.

The 43-point win was the largest margin of victory in a conference game since 2008 against Cincinnati. The Huskies tied the program record for threes with 17, putting on a show for the 2004 men’s national championship team that was honored at halftime.

Tristen Newton once again led the way for the Huskies with 22 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Donovan Clingan had one of his best games of the season with 18 and seven in limited minutes, while Stephon Castle chipped in 12 points and five assists. UConn shot 58 percent from the field and behind the arc, assisting on 28 of 36 made shots.

The Huskies started the game on a 10-0 in part thanks to seven forced turnovers in the first five minutes, two more than the Musketeers had in their previous game vs. Creighton.

Perhaps the play of the game came on a defensive rebound by Tristen Newton who looked to push, but saw Castle streaking down the left side of the court. Newton stopped right after the half-court line and threw a high lob pass which was thrown down by Castle, igniting the XL Center crowd and giving the Huskies a 31-7 lead. They took a 28-22 advantage into the halftime break.

Xavier’s Dayvion McKnight, a transfer from Western Kentucky was the only one who could do anything offensively in the first 15 minutes, scoring nine of Xavier’s first 12 points. Leading scorer Quincy Olivari was held scoreless during this stretch, but had a mini eight-point spurt of his own at the end of the first half.

The second half was somehow more impressive than the first. UConn shut down Xavier’s first read on offense almost every possession and got whatever it wanted in its own sets. A 12-0 early capped by Donovan Clingan’s first three-pointer put the Huskies up by 35, and they never looked back.

Early in the second half, Jayden Ross, Jaylin Stewart, and Solo Ball got some extra run as the starters were rested. With UConn up by 40 and about three minutes remaining, head coach Dan Hurley subbed in the walk-ons. Apostolos Roumoglou and Andrew Hurley both hit three-pointers, as the crowd went wild in celebration of one of the most dominant conference wins in program history.

UConn improves to 18-2 overall, 8-1 in the Big East, good for first in the standings. Up next, the Huskies are hosting the Providence Friars at Gampel Pavilion on Wednesday. That game will tip at 8:30 p.m. ET and air on FS1.