No. 25 UConn beats Butler 76-59 in first of home-and-home

Jan 18, 2022, 4:28 AM | Updated: 7:40 pm
Connecticut's Andre Jackson is guarded by Butler's Jair Bolden, right, during the first half of an ...

Connecticut's Andre Jackson is guarded by Butler's Jair Bolden, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — UConn coach Dan Hurley thought Adama Sanogo had an off night.

The 6-foot-9 sophomore scored 13 points and grabbed 15 rebounds on Tuesday in the No. 25 Huskies’ 76-59 win over Butler, the first of two games this week between the programs. But Sanogo made just six of his 14 shots and missed several layups.

“He just was off a tick,” Hurley said. “But when you’re off a tick and you can still go get 13, 15 and four blocks in 24 minutes, you’re pretty good.”

It was the third straight double-double for Sanogo. He was joined by Andre Jackson, who had his first career double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for Connecticut (12-4, 3-2 Big East), which returned to the rankings this week for the first time since mid-December.

R.J. Cole had 17 points to lead UConn in scoring, while Jordan Hawkins had 14 points off the bench and Tyler Polley chipped in with 10.

“It’s good to see guys come in and play well to back up the guys who started the game,” Cole said. “And that’s the strength of our team. We’ve been talking about depth all year and so finally, it’s starting to click for us.”

Butler’s Jayden Taylor had 14 of his 19 points in the second half and Simas Lukosius added 17 points for the Bulldogs (9-7, 2-3).

UConn led by 15 points at halftime and Sanogo scored four points after the break to push the lead to 43-24. Butler cut it to 47-36 on a 3-pointer from Lukosius, but that was as close as the Bulldogs would get.

The Huskies took their first 20-point lead on a layup and free throw from Jackson that made it 65-45 with just under 5 minutes to play

Butler shot 31% from the floor (18 of 59), while UConn outrebounded the Bulldogs 49-39.

This game was originally scheduled for Jan. 1, but was postponed because UConn was dealing with COVID-19 issues.

BIG PICTURE

Butler: This was the second of four straight games for the the Bulldogs against ranked teams. They lost 82-42 to No. 11 Villanova on Sunday and must face the Huskies again on Thursday in Indianapolis, then travel to No. 21 Providence next Sunday.

Lukosius said that makes the next two games very important.

“We don’t like to lose,” he said. “We haven’t performed that well and we haven’t performed the way we know we can perform.”

UConn: The Huskies have not played the same opponent in two consecutive games since 1996, when they beat Seton Hall in the regular-season finale and again in the Big East tournament. The last time they played the same team back-to-back in the regular season was in February 1992, losing twice to Georgetown.

SLOW START

UConn missed its first four shots and didn’t score until Sanogo hit a short turnaround in the lane, 3 minutes into the game. It started a 10-0 run.

Cole had five of those points and scored his first eight from the foul line before taking and making his first official shot from the floor.

“To have him attacking the rim like that and getting to the foul line, it really helped us get going,” Jackson said.

HE SAID IT

Butler coach LaVall Jordan said he’s never been in a situation where his team has played the same team twice in a row in such a short span of time and he wasn’t sure if it will help his team or hurt it.

“I asked Danny if they wanted to hop in the plane with us, but he turned that down,” he joked. “We’ll just turn around and make some adjustments and get ready to battle,” he said.

____

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No. 25 UConn beats Butler 76-59 in first of home-and-home