HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The return of 7-foot-2 Donovan Clingan to UConn's lineup was expected to help the Huskies near the basket.
However, it has also impacted the outside game of the nation's top-ranked team.
The sophomore star had 18 points, Tristen Newton scored 22 and UConn extended its winning streak to eight, rolling over Xavier 99-56 on Sunday.
Clingan was one of 10 Huskies to hit a 3-pointer and added eight rebounds and two blocks in his third game back from a December foot injury,
“It's not coincidental that we made more 3s with him back, because we got better 3s because of the paint and the rim pressure,” coach Dan Hurley said.
Stephon Castle and Solomon Ball each added 12 points for UConn (18-2, 8-1 Big East) which has not lost at home in more than a calendar year. It was UConn's largest margin of victory in a Big East game since beating Cincinnati 96-51 on March 9, 2008.
Dayvion McKnight had 18 points and Quincy Olivari added 14 for Xavier (10-10, 4-5), which had won three of its previous four games, but falls to 1-5 on the road this season.
“We were really overwhelmed today from the opening tip to the final buzzer,” Xavier coach Sean Miller said. "It’s up to us now to get back. We have a home game in a few days and we’re gonna be as ready as we can be for the next challenge.”
This one was over early.
Alex Karaban opened the game with a layup and the Huskies scored the game’s first 10 points, holding Xavier without a point for the first four minutes.
Ball's 3-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer and a lob dunk from Newton to Castle highlighted a 20-0 UConn run that made it 38-7 just over 14 minutes into the game and gave UConn complete control.
The Huskies led 48-22 at the half.
“We just kept going on run after run after run,” Clingan said. “I knew this was our win.”
The Huskies made 17 of their 29 shots (59%) from behind the arc. The 17 three-pointers tied a program record set last season against Oregon on Nov. 24, 2022.
Xavier: The Musketeers handed the Huskies their most recent home loss, beating UConn 82-79 last January. Xavier came in having won four of its past seven meetings with No. 1 teams, but was never in this one.
UConn: The Huskies honored their 2004 national championship team at halftime and wore their throwback jerseys during the contest. Former NBA players Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva were among those in attendance, along with 81-year-old Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun.
“I wasn’t just trying to build a team,” Calhoun said. “I was trying to build a program, something that would last. And it has. Things have worked out pretty well for us."
A TEAM EFFORT
Eleven Huskies scored, 10 of them had at least one 3-pointer and 10 of them had at least one assist. The Huskies bench outscored Xavier's 34-9.
UConn held Xavier to 34.4% shooting, outrebounded the Musketeers 41-31 and outscored them in the paint 38-24
Xavier: The Musketeers head home to Ohio to host St. John's on Wednesday
UConn: The Huskies host rival Providence on Wednesday
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