UConn men put on shooting, passing clinic to rout Oregon in Phil Knight opener, 83-59 – Hartford Courant

PORTLAND, Ore. — It wasn’t the size of the Ducks in this fight. It was the shooting, passing and depth of the UConn men’s basketball team that proved to be a sizable advantage.

The Huskies (6-0) weren’t playing a mid-major this time, but nonetheless looked to be on another level than their opponent in the first-round game of the Phil Knight Invitational bracket Thursday night, blowing out Oregon, 83- 59 at the Moda Center.

UConn made a school record 17 shots from 3-point range on 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 negated the Ducks’ huge front court, shooting over them and defeating the matchup zone defense. To get those open threes the Huskies, 30-for-63 from the floor, used the crisp ball movement, which has been a signature so far this season, getting 22 assists on 30 baskets from eight different players.

Though the Huskies had to work around foul trouble in the second half they continued to build on the 11-point lead they took at the break, expanding it to as many as 29 with six minutes left. And all the while, they managed to outrebound Oregon 36-30 and outscore the Ducks in the paint, 24-22.

The Huskies, ranked 20th in the AP Poll, will face either No. 12 Michigan State or No. 18 Alabama, who played in the second half of the night session doubleheader, in the semifinals on Friday at 9 pm Either one would prove to be the first major test for a UConn team that has been thoroughly impressive to date.

Oregon’s huge front court, with 7-footers Nate Bittle and Kel’el Ware and 6-11 N’Faly Dante gave UConn a little trouble in the early going and briefly led 8-3. But the Huskies got their 3-point game going in a big way to overcome the Ducks’ size and lead.

Newton was the key, hitting his first five 3-point attempts, a couple from NBA range, and then some. Calcaterra, coming in off the bench, also made a couple of threes. The Huskies opened up a 13-point lead, though Adama Sanogo, Alex Karaban and Hassan Diarra all picked up two fouls along the way, and they each picked up 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 finish the half with 21, and the Huskies led 39-28.

UConn was 9-for-20 on threes, with nine assists on 14 field goals, but also holding its own with Oregon’s size, with an 18-17 edge in rebounds and a 10-10 draw in points in the paint.

The Huskies continued to move 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 out to Hawkins for an open three on another. UConn built its lead out to 18. Calcaterra’s three made it 56-36 with 14 1/2 minutes left.

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

Dom Amore can be reached at [email protected]

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