UConn advances to Elite Eight with 82-52 victory over San Diego State | Trending Viral hub


BOSTON – Buoyed by his defense, the University of Connecticut men’s basketball program returns to the Elite Eight after pulling away for an 82-52 victory over the fifth seed. San Diego State at the sold-out TD Garden in Boston on Thursday night.

Tristen Newton, Cam Spencer and Stephon Castle led the national championship rematch, combining for 51 points as the reserves helped UConn increase its lead to 32 late in the second half.

“We are bad at winning close games, so we have to opt for the alternative,” said the head coach. and hurley saying. “The group has a killer instinct. We play every possession with great desperation, we have NBA-level players who are incredibly well prepared by (assistants) Luke Murray and Kimani Young… And obviously we feel very comfortable in the tournament, it is difficult to prepare for it. “

The victory tied UConn’s record for wins in a season (34-3), which was set in 1999, when the program won its first national championship.

UConn has won nine straight NCAA Tournament games by an average of 22.8 points and is the first reigning national champion to advance past the Sweet 16 since Florida won back-to-back titles in 2007.

Newton reaffirmed his All-American status with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Spencer scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half, adding five rebounds and three steals. Castle, the freshman, recorded his first double-double of the year with 15 points and a career-high 11 rebounds.

Jaedon LeDee went shot-for-shot with the Huskies to start the game, but Newton ripped off an offensive rebound around the 14th minute and sparked a 12-2 run that was fueled by a pair of layups and a 3-. Spencer pointer.

LeDee finished with team highs in points (18) and rebounds (eight).

Alex Karaban hit two 3-pointers in the first four minutes, the second with his heel touching the center court logo, as UConn finished the first half with more 3-pointers (5 of 14) than in the entire Round. of 32 games against Northwestern (3 of 22). The Huskies finished the game shooting 10 of 26 (38.5%) from beyond the arc while shooting 46.2% (30 of 65) from the field.

But UConn’s offense went silent as he passed the ball to Donovan Clingan, looking to draw a third foul on LeDee, but instead missed a series of shots at the rim.

“It was too tempting not to give him a couple of chances there. But that guy, sometimes it’s hard for a 7-foot-3 guy to score against a weird athlete who’s super strong, who can take advantage of him a little bit. He had that low leverage,” Hurley said.

UConn shot just 2 of 16 from the field over a seven-minute span and San Diego State got within four before Spencer ended a three-minute drought with a mid-range jumper. Spencer scored UConn’s final seven points of the half to make the halftime lead 40-31.

Clingan entered the locker room at halftime with just two points (1 of 6) and three rebounds, taking a moment to breathe deeply and clear his head.

“(I) realized I had to go out and dominate because my team needed me,” he said. “Once I got my rhythm back, I feel like I defended at a high level.”

The Huskies big man scored six points on three shots and grabbed five rebounds with one block in 10 minutes of the second half. He helped hold LeDee to just three points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field after the break.

Castle was the catalyst that helped the Huskies pull away. Using his physicality to dominate the glass on both sides, he scored six straight points to build a 16-point lead with less than 13 minutes remaining.

“I just saw that I missed a couple of opportunities to grab some offensive rebounds and make some more plays for my teammates,” Castle said. “In the second half I just tried to make up for that and try to do everything I can to win my matchup and help my teammates.”

Hassan Diarra came in to give Spencer a break and immediately made his mark, scoring all 10 of his points in the second half while bothering San Diego State’s ball handlers while finishing with four rebounds, four assists and a steal in 20 minutes played.

The Huskies finished the game with a 50-29 rebounding advantage, 21-12 on the offensive end.

Castle found Clingan (eight points, eight rebounds) for a dunk that knocked out the Aztecs as UConn’s lead grew to 21 with seven minutes left.

The Huskies outscored San Diego State 42-21 in the second half and continued to extend their lead with the game in hand.

“With about 13 seconds left, I let myself enjoy it,” Hurley said. “As he was yelling for the ball to get into Andrew (Hurley)’s hands so he could dribble the clock. That’s been another superstition: ‘Give him the ball, please.’”

UConn is now 13-6 in Sweet 16 games all-time and advances to the Elite Eight for the 13th time, where it has a 6-6 record. The Huskies will face third-seeded Illinois at 6:09 p.m. on Saturday for a shot at the Final Four. Illinois defeated second-seeded Iowa State, 72-69, on Thursday night.

“The way the defending champions have done in recent history, it’s been against the odds in terms of the season we’re having, coming off the national championship with an even better season. Winning the Big East regular season by multiple games and now setting a program record for season wins and winning the Big East Tournament and now reaching an Elite Eight,” Hurley said. “This team has challenged what previous champions did and taken this program to a completely different level.”

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