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Alex Karaban, Cam Spencer heat up from deep as UConn routs Arkansas Pine Bluff, 101-63

Joe Arruda, Hartford Courant on

Published in Basketball

STORRS, Conn. — UConn may have its own pair of splash brothers.

Alex Karaban and Cam Spencer combined to shoot 11 of 15 from beyond the 3-point line as the Huskies clicked late and sprinted to a 101-63 rout of Arkansas Pine Bluff inside Gampel Pavilion on Saturday.

UConn had just a one-possession lead with less than three minutes left in the first half but went into the break on a 12-2 run and took complete control in the second when it outscored the Golden Lions, 56-30.

“The last 22 minutes of that I thought was really, really good basketball,” head coach Dan Hurley said. “Our goal was to keep them under 60 (points) and they scored 63 and shot 36 percent overall, a little bit under that. For us offensively it was good to see us shoot it better, our expectation for the way that we would shoot the ball this year was more in line with the way we shot it today.”

Karaban, who appeared fully comfortable after dislocating his finger in practice before Tuesday’s game against North Carolina, finished with a career-high 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field, 6-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc. He added seven rebounds, two offensive, and three assists. Spencer scored all 15 of his points from the 3-point line, where he was 5 of 6 for the game, and had four rebounds and four assists.

“He couldn’t miss today,” Spencer said of Karaban. “You definitely feed off of that as a teammate and when you see the confidence that he’s shooting with, it lifts your confidence as well.”

 

Tristen Newton and Solo Ball each added a 3 of their own and finished with 16 and nine points, respectively. In 21 minutes, center Donovan Clingan had 11 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, and freshmen Jaylin Stewart and Stephon Castle each scored seven off the bench; Castle added four rebounds and four assists in 18 minutes as he returns from a knee injury.

Karaban, just 4 of 24 on 3-point attempts over the last four games, got the Huskies started early with a 3-pointer on the first possession of the game and another at the 18-minute mark.

“It felt really good, just to see the ball go in with my shot and just having that confidence back to knowing I’m a great shooter,” he said. “The coaches have been telling me that all the time, to keep my confidence up, they’ve been giving me confidence too and then my teammates have been doing a great job telling me just to keep shooting. I knew eventually I would get out of the slump.”

UConn missed its next seven attempts from beyond the arc after Karaban’s second fell through.

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