UConn dominates for 10th straight double-digit tournament victory beating Illinois 77-52

Sun, Mar 31, 2024
NCAAB News (AP)

UConn dominates for 10th straight double-digit tournament victory beating Illinois 77-52

BOSTON (AP) - Defending national champion UConn powered its way back into the Final Four behind a 30-0 run led by Donovan Clingan, who finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Huskies crushed Illinois 77-52 on Saturday night.

It was a March Madness record 10th straight double-digit victory for the Huskies, who cruised to their fifth national title last year and seem inexorably headed for a sixth. Their NCAA Tournament wins this year have come by 39, 17, 30 and 25 points.

The top-seeded Huskies (35-3) will now get on an airplane for the first time in almost a month and head to the Final Four in Glendale, Arizona, where they will face the West Region champion, either Alabama or Clemson.

They are the first defending champions to make it back to the national semifinals since Florida won back-to-back titles in 2006 and '07.

That's still a possibility for the Huskies, too.

Marcus Domask scored 17 points - 15 in the first half - for Illinois (29-9), and star Terrence Shannon Jr. was held to eight points on 2-of-12 shooting. Shannon, who scored 29 points in Thursday night's Sweet 16 victory over Iowa State, snapped a string of 41 straight games scoring in double digits.

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Cam Spencer had 11 points and 12 rebounds, Hassan Diarra scored 11 and Alex Karaban had 10 points for UConn.

WEST REGION

ALABAMA 89, CLEMSON 82

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Mark Sears made seven 3-pointers and Alabama recovered from its early long-distance shooting woes with 16 3s to beat Clemson 89on, sending the Crimson Tide to the Final Four for the first time.

The Tide (25-11) will face defending national champion UConn in Glendale, Arizona, next Saturday. Alabama knocked off top-seeded North Carolina to reach the Elite Eight.

Sears' 3-pointers were one off his career high. He finished with 23 points. Freshman Jarin Stevenson airballed a 3 in the first half, when Alabama missed 12 of its first 13 from long range. He made a career-high five 3s and had 19 points off the bench.

Clemson (24-12) was seeking its first Final Four appearance, too, in the West Region final between two schools better known for their national championship football teams. Joseph Girard III led Clemson with 19 points, and Ian Schieffelin had 18 points and 11 rebounds.

The Tide buried the Tigers in an avalanche of 10 3s in the second half to pull away.

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