CINCINNATI (AP) Cam Spencer scored 19 points and Tristen Newton had 16 as No. 4 UConn held off Xavier 80-75 on Wednesday night.

Alex Karaban added 14 points and Newton finished with 11 assists to help the Huskies (14-2, 4-1 Big East) win their fourth straight game since dropping their conference opener by 15 at Seton Hall.

The defending national champions got some payback against Xavier, which swept the two-game season series last year.

“Happy to come in here and get a win," UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “It was a hard-fought Big East road win. We were in one of the toughest places to play. I just think we responded like a program that believes we’re supposed to win.”

Freshman guard Stephon Castle had 12 points, eight assists and six rebounds for Connecticut. Hassan Diarra scored 11 off the bench.

Karaban left with 10:34 remaining after taking an elbow above his right eye. He received stitches after the game.

Quincy Olivari scored 24 points and Desmond Claude added 15 for the Musketeers (7-8, 1-3).

UConn started out hot from the perimeter. The Huskies made six of their first eight 3-point attempts, including the first three. Spencer, who came in shooting 44.3% from beyond the arc, had two of them.

“The first four minutes of the game was like a video game," Xavier coach Sean Miller said. “They can do that.”

The Musketeers missed their first five 3s before Olivari connected to cut the Huskies’ lead to 35-32 late in the first half.

With UConn ahead 32-22, the Huskies’ Jaylin Stewart was assessed a technical foul as several players scrambled for a loose ball. Fewer than five minutes later, the Musketeers tied the score at 35 on Claude’s jumper.

UConn led 42-38 at halftime.

It was the Musketeers who started hot in the second half. Claude hit a pair of 3s and Trey Green’s 3-pointer gave Xavier its first lead, 52-51.

“They made some tough 3s to start the second half," Hurley said. "But we stayed composed.”

The Huskies' defense held the Musketeers without a field goal for more than five minutes to spark a 10-0 run. Diarra’s 3-pointer made it 61-52.

“We had a lot of stops to get on that run,” Spencer said. “Yes, we were scoring. But it really came down to the defense."

The Huskies led by 14 with 4:24 remaining. The Musketeers rallied to cut the deficit to 76-71 with a minute left, but UConn staved off the comeback.

“It was chaos," Hurley said of the final minute. "We committed some bad fouls to stop the clock. We got a little bit disorganized. We weren’t going to walk out of there with a 17-point win.”

The schools have split six meetings since becoming Big East rivals.


UConn: Every other team ranked in the Top 5 has already lost this week, so the Huskies might have a chance to ascend to No. 1 with a win Sunday over Georgetown.

Xavier: Offensive rebounding in key moments, which contributed to several of the Musketeers’ losses this season, was a focus on Wednesday. UConn is ranked in the top 10 nationally in offensive rebounding, but Xavier won that battle 20-8.


UConn shot 54.4% from the field but was outrebounded 42-30 overall. Xavier shot 35.9% from the floor.


UConn: Will host Georgetown on Sunday.

Xavier: Plays at Providence on Saturday.


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