No. 1 UConn shakes off Providence for 9th straight win

Freshman Stephon Castle scored a career-high 20 points to lead No. 1 UConn past Providence 74-65 on Wednesday in Storrs, Conn.

The longtime rivals combined for 48 fouls and 23 missed free throws, but the Huskies (19-2, 9-1 Big East) made 21 of their 25 foul shots in the second half en route to their ninth straight win.

Tristen Newton contributed 16 points and 11 rebounds for UConn, thanks in large part to hitting 10 of 16 free throws. Cam Spencer added 15 points and Alex Karaban 12.

Josh Oduro and Devin Carter each logged 20 points and nine rebounds for Providence (14-7, 5-5), which had won three in a row. Carter scored 16 in the second half.

Both Oduro and UConn’s Donovan Clingan quickly got into foul trouble. Clingan was limited to 15 minutes.

Oduro was one of three Friars to foul out. Only Castle did so for the Huskies.

The Huskies led by one at halftime before Clingan’s quick bucket opened the second half. A 3-pointer by Carter started Providence on a 6-0 run, but Castle matched that with a pair of treys, and then he finished a three-point play for a 40-36 UConn lead at the 13:53 mark.

The UConn run moved to 13-2 as a technical foul on the Friars’ bench after an offensive foul by Carter resulted in two free throws by Spencer, followed by Castle’s layup less than a minute later.

Providence got as close as five four times between the 11:58 and 8:00, including Carter’s two-hand dunk off a feed from Jayden Pierre. Clingan’s second-chance layup highlighted that stretch for UConn.

Oduro’s fadeaway jumper and a takeaway leading to Carter’s transition layup brought Providence within 58-54 at 5:23 to go. Tristen Newton three-point play and Clingan’s layup doubled the advantage within a minute.

The Huskies scored six of the final eight points to finish the win.

UConn trailed for most of the first half but led 29-28 at intermission.

Castle’s back-to-back baskets lifted UConn to a 6-2 lead, but Oduro scored six of the visitors’ 10 consecutive as Providence moved ahead. Pierre’s reverse layup made it a 14-2 Providence run.

The Huskies quickly responded. Newton’s three-point play and Samson Johnson’s transition dunk fueled a 9-2 run.

Oduro’s corner 3-pointer with 7:02 left before halftime was the first trey for either team.

The Huskies cut the deficit to one point with 4:39 left. Karaban nailed a deep 3-pointer to cap a 5-0 spurt as UConn went up 25-24 with 3:17 to go.

Spencer’s triple with 2:29 left was the Huskies’ final field goal of the first half.