Top-ranked UConn looks to extend its 10-game Big East winning streak on Tuesday night when it hosts Butler.
UConn (20-2, 10-1 Big East) last played on Saturday, taking down Rick Pitino-coached St. John’s 77-64 in New York.
Cam Spencer led the way with 23 points followed closely by Stephon Castle’s 21. Tristen Newton added 18 points and 10 rebounds and the Huskies had a 38-23 rebounding edge.
“To outrebound that team by 15 speaks to how we showed up here today,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “We expected to win today. We find a way to win.”
Butler (15-7, 6-5) comes into Tuesday on a four-game win streak after taking down No. 13 Creighton in a shootout, 99-98 in Omaha on Friday.
It was the first Big East game since 2011 where both teams scored 95-plus points in regulation. Jahmyl Telfort led Butler with 26 points on 12-of-17 shooting while DJ Davis added 22 with five assists.
“We’ve had so many games in league where we’ve been right there,” Butler coach Thad Matta said. “I’m proud of our guys. I told them I could go around the room and talk about every single guy and what he brought to the table for us.”
Pierre Brooks II leads the Bulldogs with 16.5 points per game this season. Posh Alexander leads with 5.1 assists and 2.4 steals per contest while Jalen Thomas averages 6.6 boards and 1.3 blocks.
Alexander is listed as questionable for Tuesday with a foot injury after missing Friday’s game. Connor Turnbull is also still out with his elbow injury dating back to December.
Alex Karaban is also questionable for the Huskies with an ankle injury, which, similar to Alexander, will be something to watch prior to tip.
“All things considered, didn’t imagine we could play as well and as tough as we did without Alex,” Hurley said of the St. John’s game. “He’s kind of the brain center of the program.”
UConn has five players averaging more than 10 points per game, led by Newton’s 15.9 as well as his 6.8 boards and 5.7 assists. Donovan Clingan is averaging just under two blocks per game as well.
This will be the second and final matchup regular-season between these teams after they had a hard-fought battle on Jan. 5 in Indianapolis, with UConn coming out on top 88-81.
Karaban led UConn with 20 that night while Davis had 22 for Butler, which led 42-35 at halftime.
The Huskies have had their way with Butler historically, owning an 8-0 record all-time against their Big East rival. Last season when the teams faced off in Connecticut, the Huskies won 86-56.
Butler’s seven-point loss earlier this season was the closest a game between these teams has ever been decided.
The Bulldogs will be looking for a key resume win on Tuesday and what would be their third win over a team currently ranked. They’ve taken down Marquette and Creighton, both on the road.
–Field Level Media
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