DePaul’s second-half surge not enough in loss to UConn

The Blue Demons went on an 18-4 run that trimmed the Huskies’ lead to 63-57 midway through the second half. But UConn restored a comfortable margin with an 8-0 run.

SHARE DePaul’s second-half surge not enough in loss to UConn
DePaul’s Javan Johnson drives to the basket past UConn’s Tristen Newton (left) as he is fouled by Andre Jackson Jr. during the second half.

DePaul’s Javan Johnson drives to the basket past UConn’s Tristen Newton (left) as he is fouled by Andre Jackson Jr. during the second half.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Jordan Hawkins, Adama Sanogo and Tristen Newton took turns coming up with big plays for No. 24 UConn.

It was a nice night for the Huskies after one rough stretch.

Hawkins scored 26 points and Sanogo had 25, leading UConn to a 90-76 victory over DePaul on Tuesday night at Wintrust Arena.

The Huskies had dropped six of eight after a 14-0 start, including an 82-79 loss to No. 16 Xavier in their previous game last week. But they used their superior size to push around DePaul, scoring 42 points in the paint and building a 38-25 rebounding advantage.

Newton scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, continuing his strong play since he was shut out during an 85-74 loss at St. John’s on Jan. 15. He is averaging 16.5 points in UConn’s last four games.

“Tristen’s really evolving, improving, playing more like a guy that’s in his second year with us,” coach Dan Hurley said, “in terms of picking his spots to be more aggressive.”

UConn (17-6, 6-6 Big East) improved to 16-1 against DePaul in the series. The Blue Demons (9-14, 3-9) got their only victory over the Huskies 16 years ago.

Javan Johnson scored 19 points for DePaul, which has dropped four straight and 10 of 13 overall. Da’Sean Nelson had 16, and Eral Penn finished with 13.

“We’ve just got to get better, be more connected defensively,” coach Tony Stubblefield said.

The Blue Demons trailed 59-39 after Sanogo’s layup with 16:18 left. But Johnson’s three-pointer sparked an 18-4 run that trimmed the Huskies’ lead to 63-57 midway through the second half.

Newton then had a big four-point play for UConn, and an 8-0 run restored a comfortable margin for the Huskies for the final minutes.

“Knew we needed some points, was confident enough to shoot it and it happened to go in,” Newton said of the four-point play.

“It was a good momentum boost.”

DePaul went 9 for 16 at the line in the second half, hurting its ability to rally.

“We just couldn’t put it together for 40 minutes,” Penn said.

Sanogo had 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting when he was whistled for his second foul with 7:54 left in the first half, sending him to the bench. With their burly post player watching from the sideline, the Huskies responded.

Hawkins sparked a 12-1 run with five straight foul shots, including three after he was fouled on a three-point attempt. A driving layup for Newton and Hawkins’ three made it 40-27 with 3:45 left.

UConn shot 52% (17 for 33) on its way to a 46-33 halftime lead. Hawkins had 15 points at the break.

“Just let my game come to me,” Hawkins said. “Don’t really try to force anything out there.”

Sanogo returned for the start of the second half and immediately asserted himself with a layup on UConn’s first possession. He went 10 for 13 from the field for the game and finished with nine rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

UConn: The play of Hawkins and Newton, especially while Sanogo was hampered by foul trouble, is a positive sign for the Huskies as they try to put together a strong finish.

DePaul: It was a tough night for Umoja Gibson, who had eight points on 3-for-10 shooting before fouling out with 3:58 remaining. Gibson was averaging a team-high 16.2 points coming into the game.

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