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Feb 3, 2024 7:46 pm

Cam Spencer fuels 2nd-half surge as No. 1 UConn jolts St. John’s

Cam Spencer scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half as No. 1 UConn pulled away for a 77-64 victory over host St. John’s on Saturday afternoon in New York.

Spencer had 10 points during a decisive run in the second half for UConn (20-2, 10-1 Big East), which extended its winning streak to 10 games despite playing without Alex Karaban. He was sidelined with an ankle injury sustained during Wednesday’s 74-65 win over Providence.

Stephon Castle scored 21 points and Tristen Newton collected 18 points, 10 rebounds and a team-leading seven assists.

Spencer, Castle and Newton combined for 22 points during the 24-8 run that put UConn ahead by double figures for good.

Daniss Jenkins recorded 19 points, six assists and three steals for St. John’s (13-9, 5-6), which has lost five of its last six games. RJ Luis Jr. scored 11 points and Chris Ledlum had 10, but Joel Soriano, who has 11 double-doubles, tied season lows with six points and four rebounds.

There were 17 lead changes and eight ties before UConn maintained a lead of at least 10 points for the final 7:29. The Huskies scored nine straight points to take a 14-5 lead before Jenkins had 10 points in a 22-8 run for St. John’s, which took its biggest lead at 27-22 with 6:02 left in the first half.

UConn responded with a 9-2 run and took a 31-29 lead on Castle’s jumper with 2:53 left. The teams traded the lead on their next four possessions before Nahiem Alleyne’s jumper with 29 seconds left gave St. John’s a 37-36 halftime lead.

The lead changed hands following the first three baskets of the second before Luis and Ledlum scored on consecutive possessions to give St. John’s its final lead at 46-45 with 13:16 remaining.

Spencer hit a 3-pointer on the next trip to begin the key surge for UConn, which limited the Red Storm to 2-of-7 shooting while forcing three turnovers during a span of 6:15. That stretch ended with Spencer sinking another 3-pointer to extend the lead to 69-54 with 6:40 left.

–Field Level Media

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