No. 5 UConn tops LIU, is unbeaten ahead of Big East play

Dec 9, 2022, 10:44 PM | Updated: Dec 10, 2022, 12:48 pm
Connecticut's Jordan Hawkins, center, goes up for a basket as Long Island's Quion Burns, left, and ...

Connecticut's Jordan Hawkins, center, goes up for a basket as Long Island's Quion Burns, left, and Cheikh Ndiaye, right, defend during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

              Fans pose for a photo with Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones, second from left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball between Connecticut and Long Island University, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
            
              Connecticut's Andre Jackson Jr., left, and Long Island's Cheikh Ndiaye jump for a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
            
              Connecticut's Andre Jackson Jr., right, steals the ball from Long Island's Quion Burns during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
            
              Connecticut's Jordan Hawkins, center, goes up for a basket as Long Island's Quion Burns, left, and Cheikh Ndiaye, right, defend during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Freshman Donovan Clingan keeps raising the bar with each game in his first season with UConn.

The 7-foot-2 center had a career-high 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead No. 5 UConn over Long Island University 114-61 on Saturday.

It was Clingan’s second double-double of the season, and one of five players who scored in double digits for UConn (11-0). Sophomore Jordan Hawkins had a team-high 22 points and was 6 of 9 on 3-pointers; freshman Alex Karaban turned in a career-high 19 points; Adama Sanogo added 16 points and Naheim Alleyne added 11.

“We have to come into every game with the mindset that the other team is trying to win, too,” said Clingan, who shot 10-for-10 from the field. “It’s important to get every win and this one was important as the last nonconference game.”

Clingan has become a dominant force inside with Sanogo, who was the preseason Big East Player of the Year. Clingan posted his first double-double and was named MVP in last month’s Phil Knight Invitational championship win over Iowa State.

Clingan and Sanogo scored 36 of UConn’s 58 points in the paint Saturday.

“Going against the best big man in the country, Adama, in practice helps me a lot every day,” Clingan said.

The last time the Huskies (11-0) scored 100 points in regulation was when they opened the 2020 season with a 102-75 win against Central Connecticut State. It’s also the most points UConn has scored since beating Morehead State 129-61 on Dec. 23, 2005.

The Huskies finished their nonconference schedule undefeated for the sixth time since 1979 and the first since 2010-11 (12-0).

“It’s hard to do historical things in a place with all this history, right,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “To be the sixth team in program history who has been able to get through the conference undefeated is a great accomplishment for this group.”

Jacob Johnson scored 19 points for the Sharks (1-8) and R.J. Greene added 17.

Clingan had 17 points and nine rebounds at the break as UConn dominated the opening half, 62-27. The freshman eclipsed his career high of 15 points with a putback dunk right before the buzzer.

The Huskies shot 62.5% from the field to LIU’s 37%, and were 7 of 16 on 3-pointers.

After the Sharks tied it 5-5 at 17:52 of the half, UConn reeled off a 20-2 run.

LIU coach Rod Strickland said the Huskies showed why they’re ranked so high: “They were just efficient on both ends of the court.”

The Sharks played without leading scorer Marko Maletic, a late scratch, who has been averaging 14.9 points per game.

BIG PICTURE

LIU: The Sharks dropped their seventh straight contest and are now 0-3 against Big East schools this season.

UConn: The Huskies are off to their best overall start since opening 11-0 in 2008-09 which ties them for fourth all-time. The best start was 19-0 in 1998-99.

BY THE NUMBERS

The Huskies collected a season-high 29 assists, which led to 45-for-72 shooting from the field. Andre Jackson Jr. and Tristen Newton each had seven assists.

UP NEXT

LIU: Dropped the first of a three-game road trip, with their next contest coming Wednesday at Albany.

UConn: Goes into a week-long break before opening Big East play on Dec. 17 at Butler.

___

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No. 5 UConn tops LIU, is unbeaten ahead of Big East play