Cam Spencer scored a team-leading 19 points while Tristen Newton added 16 points and 11 assists to lead the No. 4 UConn Huskies past the host Xavier Musketeers 80-75 on Wednesday night in Cincinnati.
Newton fell four rebounds short of his fourth career triple-double while Alex Karaban added 14 points for Connecticut (14-2, 4-1 Big East), which won its fourth straight in conference play.
UConn trailed only once in the second half, 52-51, before Newton connected on back-to-back threes to spark a 10-0 run on its way to a 76-62 lead with just over four minutes remaining.
Xavier (7-8, 1-3 Big East) closed to within five, 76-71, after Quincy Olivari hit two free throws with 1:06 left. After a steal, Olivari had a chance to close to within three but missed a layup. Stephon Castle converted a layup on the other end to end Xavier’s 9-0 run.
Newton’s two free throws with 5.6 seconds remaining sealed the Connecticut win.
Olivari led Xavier with 24 points while Desmond Claude chipped in with 15.
UConn jumped out to leads of 11-4 and 14-6 thanks to sharp shooting from beyond the arc. The Huskies drained four of their first five threes.
The home crowd didn’t have much to cheer for early in the first half, as UConn charged to a 32-22 lead.
But the momentum changed drastically just before UConn took the 10-point lead. Abou Ousmane appeared to be grabbed by Karaban as Ousmane went up for a rebound on a missed free throw by Claude with 7:47 remaining in the first half.
UConn’s Jaylin Stewart was called for a technical and Xavier answered with a 13-3 run that tied the score, 35-35, late in the first half before UConn grabbed a 42-38 halftime lead.
Xavier came out on fire from beyond the arc to open the second half, connecting on its first four from long distance. Trey Green’s 3-pointer with 15:41 left in the second half gave the Musketeers their first and only lead, 52-51.
–Field Level Media
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