Notes & Quotes: UConn does it again vs. Stonehill
The Huskies won their second game after another dominant performance.
HARTFORD, Conn. - Tristen Newton scored 22 points with seven rebounds in No. 6 UConn’s 107-67 drubbing of Stonehill on Saturday afternoon at the XL Center.
The Huskies (2-0) controlled play from the start, with the starting lineup all scoring in double digits. Freshman Stephon Castle had 17 points with eight rebounds and five assists. Donovan Clingan added 16, while Alex Karaban celebrated his birthday with 15 points and Cam Spencer’s 12 rounded out the unit.
Connecticut native Jackson Benigni scored 22 points to lead Stonehill (1-2), which is in just its second year at the Division I level.
“That’s one of the better performances a guard has had against one of my teams,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “Happy to get the win, but we need a full 40 minutes going forward when we step up in weight class.”
The Huskies jumped out to a 12-0 lead, with all of the points coming from Newton, who started off hot from three, and Clingan. The Huskies took a 52-30 lead into the halftime break.
“You play a team of that caliber … they are that good for a reason,” Stonehill head coach Chris Kraus said.
It’s the first time UConn has broken the 100-point mark since a 114-61 victory over LIU on Dec. 10 at Gampel Pavilion.
What Went Well
Tristen Terrific: Newton continues to look solid in his second season with the Huskies. His 3-point shot helped ignite things early and it was a complete effort from the guard with seven rebounds, four assists, and five steals in 26-plus minutes.
Newton: “My teammates have confidence in me when there’s a play that needs to be made that I can make the plays.”
Hurley: “He got us off to a fast start. The guy is a national champion and a guy with multiple triple-doubles and had a huge game for us in the national championship game. That’s kind of what he should do for us. So yeah, I was really pleased with that and I thought he made some good defensive efforts.”
2. Castle Building: The heralded freshman had his second straight game with solid scoring and was perfect at the foul line. It was a well-rounded effort from Castle as well with eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals.
Castle: “It’s been good just practicing with these guys every day. It’s built my confidence up, so when I go out there (I’m ready to play).”
Hurley: “There’s his potential right there - 17, 8, and five - but I think the best thing is he went 7-for-7 from the free throw line. I also didn’t like that he got picked in the backcourt, a player of his caliber - one of the best freshmen in the country and a player that's incredibly humble and wants to be coached - that should never happen.”
3. Spencer Powers Through: Spencer struggled with his shot, hitting just 2-of-10 attempts. He didn’t let it impact his overall game, which included a team-high six assists and five rebounds. The veteran guard once again earned the praise of his head coach.
Hurley: “When he’s out of the game I can’t wait to put him back in the game... He hasn’t gotten his 3-point shot going yet, but he’s had a huge impact on our offense.”
What Needs Work
No Lulls: The Skyhawks never really threatened, but did outwork the Huskies during a portion of the first half. Stonehill outscored its host 18-11 over a seven-minute stretch. UConn also struggled going into the second half with six straight missed shots before making nine of the next 10.
Hurley: “I thought we played cycles there, obviously, it wasn’t a full 40-minute game, but I thought you saw potential at times when the defense was really good and the offense was really sharp. But like human nature, I think when you start the game as good as you possibly could, like we did, just human nature you let down your guard.”
More Dominance Down Low: UConn held a 56-26 edge in paint scoring, but Clingan and Johnson weren’t dominant against a smaller squad. Clingan went 8 of 15 from the field while Johnson managed just one rebound.
Hurley: “Overall, that tandem could have been better. Samson, one defensive rebound and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Donovan go 8-for-15.”
Clingan: “I feel like I wasn’t as aggressive as I should have been.”
Prior to the game, the Huskies held another banner unveiling for their home away from home — the first time a ceremony had been held at the XL. A pre-recorded message from Hurley was played, but it was much less fanfare than opening night at Gampel Pavilion. … Karaban turned 21. … Benigni is from East Hampton, Connecticut, and grew up a Huskies fan. He attended the six-overtime game against Syracuse at Madison Square Garden with his father and grandfather. … Clingan has averaged 10.5 points in the first half this season … This is the second of three home games for UConn before they travel to NYC on Nov. 19 for the Empire Classic. The Huskies will play Indiana in the first of two games. … With No. 2 Duke and No. 4 Michigan State both losing during opening week, the Huskies should move up in the next AP poll.
Tuesday, November 14, vs. Mississippi Valley State at the XL Center in Hartford, 7 pm (FS2)