UConn men shoot, pass clinic to beat Oregon in Phil Knight opener, 83-59 – Hartford Courant

PORTLAND, Oregon – It wasn’t as big as the Ducks in this fight. It was the shooting, passing and depth of the UConn men’s basketball team that proved to be a significant advantage.

The Huskies (6-0) didn’t play mid-major this time around, but nevertheless appeared to be on a different level than their opponent in the first round of Thursday night’s Phil Knight Invitational series, knocking out Oregon, 83-59 at Moda Center.

UConn made a school-record 17 shots from 3-point range in 37 attempts, including seven by Tristen Newton, who scored 21 points in the first half, 23 for the game. Newton, Joey Calcaterra, Jordan Hawkins and the rest of UConn’s multiple waves of shooters ignored the Ducks’ massive forecourt, blasting over them and beating the matchup zone defenses. To get those open threes, the Huskies, 30-for-63 from the floor, used sharp ball moves, a hallmark so far this season, with 22 assists on 30 baskets from eight different players.

Although the Huskies had to get around foul trouble in the second half, they built on the 11-point lead they had taken at the break, extending it to a whopping 29 with six minutes remaining. And all the while, they managed to beat Oregon 36-30 and beat the Ducks in the paint, 24-22.

The Huskies, ranked 20th in the AP Poll, will face No. 12 Michigan State or No. 18 Alabama, who played doubleheaders in the second half of the night session, in the semifinals on Friday at 9 p.m. first major test for a UConn team that has been very impressive so far.

Oregon’s huge forecourt, featuring 7-footers Nate Bittle and Kel’el Ware and 6-11 N’Faly Dante, gave UConn some trouble early on and briefly led 8-3. But the Huskies kicked off their 3-point game in a big way to overcome the Ducks’ size and lead.

Newton was key, hitting his first five three-point attempts, an NBA series pair, and then some. Calcaterra, coming off the bench, also made a pair of threes. The Huskies opened up a 13-point lead, though Adama Sanogo, Alex Karaban and Hassan Diarra all committed two errors along the way, each taking the No. 3 in the first minute of the second half.

But Newton continued to score both inside and out, getting all of UConn’s last 15 points to end the half with 21, and the Huskies leading 39-28.

UConn went 9-for-20 on threes, with nine assists on 14 field goals, but also held their own with Oregon’s size, leading 18-17 in rebounds and tied 10-10 in points in the paint.

The Huskies continued to pass the ball around with style and efficiency in the second half. Hawkins set up Donovan Clingan (nine points, eight rebounds) with a lob pass on one possession, Clingan kicked it back to Hawkins for an open three on another possession. UConn extended its lead to 18. Calcaterra’s three made it 56-36 with 14 1/2 minutes remaining.

Hawkins scored 18, Sanogo, who hit a pair of threes, had 12 and Calcaterra 11. Ware scored 18 for Oregon (2-3).

Dom Amore can be reached at [email protected]

UConn men shoot, pass clinic to beat Oregon in Phil Knight opener, 83-59 – Hartford Courant

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