Clingan leads top-ranked UConn to its 11th straight win, 71-62 over Butler

Wed, Feb 7, 2024
NCAAB News (AP)

Clingan leads top-ranked UConn to its 11th straight win, 71-62 over Butler

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Donovan Clingan missed five games in December and January with a foot injury and was in foul trouble in his last two, scoring in single digits both times.

But the 7-foot-2 sophomore put all that behind him Tuesday night, scoring 18 points and grabbing 14 rebounds to lead top-ranked UConn to its 11th straight win, 71-62 over Butler.

The player coach Dan Hurley affectionately calls "Cling Kong" shot 8 of 12 from the field in posting his first double-double this season and the fifth of his career. He also had three assists and three blocked shots.

"He was tremendous," Hurley said. "They didn't have many answers for him. When he rolled, he created opportunities for the driver to get to the rim or for kick-out 3s. But he impacts everything."

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Cam Spencer added 20 points for the Huskies (21-2, 11-1 Big East).

DJ Davis scored 21 points and Jahmyl Telfort had 17 for Butler (15-8, 6-6), which entered on a four-game winning streak.

The Huskies led by 14 in the first half and never trailed. But an 11-0 run by the Bulldogs that stretched into the second half cut it to 35-32 shortly after the break.

Connecticut extended the lead back to 44-35 after a steal and layup by Tristen Newton, and it was 49-40 after a highlight-reel, alley-oop dunk from Spencer to Samson Johnson.

Butler trimmed the margin to 63-58 on a corner 3-pointer from Pierre Brooks, but an offensive rebound and three-point play from Clingan pushed the advantage back to eight with just under two minutes to play.

"Obviously, I wasn't happy with my last two performances and I came in with a better mindset today and just realized I had to kill my opponent and just do whatever I can to help my team win," Clingan said.

Clingan and Spencer each had 12 first-half points and Hassan Diarra scored all nine of his points off the bench before halftime, including three free throws that made it 35-21.

But then Butler scored the final six points of the period, three of them on Davis' corner jumper just before the halftime buzzer.

BIG PICTURE

Butler: Came in averaging a conference-best 81.6 points per game, but was held to 37% shooting by the Huskies. The Bulldogs made just four of their 18 attempts from 3-point range.

"I thought we had some really good looks, but truth be told - I told Danny this after the game - they made us miss a lot of shots because of their length, and they challenge shots," coach Thad Matta said.

UConn: The Huskies are 13-0 at home this season and have won their last 17 home games, a streak that stretches back to January 2023.

"We're aware that not many teams have a chance to go clean sheet at home and that's something we're striving for," Hurley said. "If we do that we know that we're probably going to win the (Big East) regular season."

INJURIES

Both teams got starters back from injuries. Butler guard Posh Alexander, playing on an ailing foot, had eight points and five assists in 32 minutes. UConn forward Alex Karaban came back after missing Saturday's win at St. John's with an ankle sprain. He had seven points and three rebounds in 34 1/2 minutes.

UP NEXT

Butler: Heads home to host Providence on Saturday.

UConn: Travels to Washington to face Georgetown on Saturday.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball

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