Clutch shooting from Alex Karaban helps UConn survive Georgetown, 68-62
Published in Basketball
WASHINGTON — Despite a late scare, redshirt freshman Alex Karaban came up clutch as the UConn men’s basketball team survived Georgetown, 68-62, at Capital One Arena on Saturday afternoon.
With a layup and a foul with just under five minutes left, Brandon Murray gave Georgetown a one-point lead. As Georgetown faithful came alive, Karaban made a critical 3-pointer that the Huskies fans in the building just as loud. That shot, and a dunk from Adama Sanogo, gave UConn a four-point cushion with just over two minutes to go. Andre Jackson grabbed an offensive rebound with 25 seconds left and kicked the ball out to Karaban, who sunk another 3-pointer to put the Huskies ahead, 68-62.
“Andre got the massive rebound which really started it all,” Karaban said. “I’ve been trying to develop a mindset where if I’m open, shoot it. I saw I was open, I saw the shot clock running down and just let it fly and just trusted my shot.”
All of Karaban’s 11 points came in the second half where he shot 3 for 5 from beyond the arc. Sanogo finished with a team-high 15 points and six rebounds. Tristen Newton went on a scoring burst in the first half with eight points in five minutes and finished tied with Sanogo with 15 in the game along with seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block. Jordan Hawkins, who levitated to flush an alley-oop from Newton early on, scored 10 points and blocked two shots.
The Huskies struggled to stop Murray, who finished with 21 points on 8-for-18 shooting, including 14 points in the second half.
“Our defense still isn’t there,” UConn head coach Dan Hurley said. “Credit Georgetown, I thought they made some really, really hard shots at times, but our defense is still obviously an issue. We’ve got two perimeter guys that I think are scaring opponents right now in Tristen and Jordan, a stretch four man (Karaban) that really helps us do a lot of things offensively. If we could get the dominant center play and get Andre back to being Andre and get the bench going, we could resemble that team that we were earlier.”
With about nine minutes left in the first half, Sanogo rose up to flush a put-back dunk through contact. He floated out to the arc and made a 3-pointer on the Huskies’ next possession for his 1,000th career point. After a Jay Heath layup, Joey Calcaterra joined in on the fun with a 3-pointer that gave UConn an eight-point lead, its largest of the opening half.
UConn started the game 5 for 6 from beyond the arc but missed its next three as an offensive lull allowed the Hoyas to keep the score close. Former Husky Akok Akok tied the game with a 3-pointer around the two-minute mark, his first and only shot of the first half, and the score was tied, 31-31, at halftime.
Karaban scored his first five points of the game in a flurry to start the half before Jackson became the second recipient of a Newton lob pass. He finished it with a much-needed dunk for his first points of the game. Jackson made a wide open 3-pointer later in the half and finished with seven points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Jackson had struggled since he started 0 for 7 when Xavier left him wide open in Gampel Pavilion, contributing to the hole that the Huskies were unable to climb out of.
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