UConn beats SDSU by 30 to go back to Elite Eight

  • Jeff Borzello, ESPN Personnel WriterMar 28, 2024, 11:55 PM ET


    • Basketball recruiting insider.
    • Joined ESPN in 2014.
    • Graduate of University of Delaware.BOSTON– There’s

been a tongue-in-cheek mantra for UConn over the previous 2 seasons: The Huskies can’t win close games.In reality, it’s not that they can’t win one-or

two-possession games– it simply seldom comes down to the last minutes for Dan Hurley’s team. Earlier this season, the Huskies set the record for many successive nonconference triumphes by double digits. They lead the country in scoring margin.And on Thursday, UConn put down another marker. The top-seeded Huskies dominated No. 5 San Diego State 82-52 in a national championship rematch, advancing to the Elite 8 with the largest margin of victory in a Sweet 16 game since 2017. “We draw at winning close games, so you have to go with the option,” Hurley joked after the win.Editor’s Picks 2 Related After three NCAA competition games, UConn has routed for a grand overall of 28 seconds. The Huskies have actually led

by double digits for 58:27 of a possible 60 second-half minutes. They’ve won their 3 games by an average of 28.7 points.For a program whose run to in 2015’s championship game included among the all-time dominant efficiencies– six wins by approximately 20 points– the Huskies have actually entered into a various equipment.”We simply have individuals that just are desperate to win more,”Hurley said.”We have winners. We have’we’guys. We have likewise discussed tradition. … These guys today are leaving a tradition in a place that’s difficult to leave a tradition. It’s been a historic season in a tough location to make history. They’re galvanized by that. It’s special.”San Diego State did a much better job of keeping the game competitive than UConn’s first two NCAA competition challengers, at least early in the contest. The Aztecs took an early lead and went shot-for-shot

with the Huskies for the majority of the very first half, with star big male Jaedon LeDee controling on the interior versus Donovan Clingan en path to 15 points in the opening 20 minutes.UConn took an 11-point lead nine minutes into the game, but the Huskies went 4-for-22 the remainder of the half and San Diego State trimmed the deficit to four in the final minutes of the

very first half. But 2 Cam Spencer complimentary tosses and a late 3-pointer pushed the lead back to nine.An 11-4 UConn run coming out of the break basically put the game out of reach, with UConn restricting LeDee on the interior and getting tidy browse the rim at the other end.

“He made 3 border shots against Donovan out in space and then 2 broken-play containers. Certainly he had 15 at the half,”Hurley stated.”To hold an All-American-caliber player like Jaedon

to three points in the second half, I believe we just– Donovan made it hard on him. Samson [Johnson] made it hard on him. Guys who were assisting off the right people on the boundary, just revealed them a lot more bodies and played far better individually defense. We’re a top-10 defensive group as well. So once again, that’s the very best way to keep yourself from being vulnerable in this tournament is by safeguarding at a high level.”Clingan and Alex Karaban didn’t have their finest games, but stalwarts Spencer(18 points) and Tristen Newton(17 points )provided their typical production and the Huskies got a big boost from freshman Stephon Castle, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and guard Hassan Diarra, who came off the bench to score 10 points and make 4 assists.”I simply saw that I kind of lost out on a number of opportunities to type of grab some offensive rebounds, sort of make some more plays for my colleagues, “Castle stated.”The second half I just attempted to offset those and simply attempt to do whatever I can to win my match and assist my teammates.

“” The balance, basically, to have the four guys in double figures, two more guys with 8, we have a lot of responses, “Hurley added.UConn will play No. 3 Illinois, which defeated No. 2 Iowa State 72-69, in Saturday’s local final, seeking to go to its 2nd successive Last Four.The Huskies have

already made it further than any reigning national champ since Florida in 2007.” This is just where our program is at right now,” Hurley said.

“This is where our program is going to be.”

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