No. 1 UConn staves off Butler’s upset bid

Cam Spencer scored 20 points and Donovan Clingan added 18 to lead No. 1 UConn to a hard-fought 71-62 win over Butler on Tuesday in Hartford, Conn.

Clingan also pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds. Hassan Diarra added nine points off the bench as the Huskies (21-2, 11-1 Big East) earned their 11th consecutive victory.

DJ Davis led Butler (15-8, 6-6) with 21 points. Jahmyl Telfort added 17 points while Posh Alexander produced eight points, five boards and five assists as the Bulldogs saw a four-game winning streak end.

The first half mostly belonged to the Huskies. A 16-5 run late in the half helped UConn take a 14-point lead, led by Spencer and Clingan. The two each had 12 points before the break.

Davis scored six consecutive points for Butler, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to cut the halftime deficit to 35-27. The Bulldogs shot just 32.3 percent from the floor in the half compared to UConn’s 57.7 percent.

Davis’ run spilled into the start of the second half, when he ended up with an 11-0 personal run to bring Butler within just three.

The Bulldogs’ hot stretch ended quickly following the break. Butler missed seven of its next nine shots as UConn regained a double-digit advantage.

Butler continued to fight, getting the deficit down to six with 13:25 to play, but once again it did not last long. UConn’s Cam Spencer responded with a 3-pointer.

Three times Butler pulled within five. The hosts sealed the win on a 3-pointer by Alex Karaban with 1:17 to go, a hoop that capped a 6-0 run and put UConn up 69-58.

The Huskies add one more win to their perfect all-time record against Butler, with the series now sitting at 9-0. The two games played between the teams this year were the closest games in the history of the series, ending with seven- and nine-point margins.

UConn defeated Butler 53-41 in the 2011 national championship game in Houston.