After dropping five of six games following its season-opening 14-game winning streak, No. 21 UConn is once again showing signs of life.
The Huskies have won four of their last five and will look to keep rolling when they travel to Omaha, Neb., for a meeting with No. 23 Creighton on Saturday afternoon.
UConn (19-6, 8-6 Big East) is coming off one of its most impressive wins of the season, downing No. 10 Marquette 87-72 on Tuesday. It took the Huskies less than eight minutes to build a 22-6 advantage, and they never looked back.
Jordan Hawkins drained five 3-pointers en route to a game-high 20 points and Adama Sanogo contributed 18 points and seven rebounds, but the spotlight was on Tristen Newton, who recorded his second triple-double of the season.
Newton supplied 12 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists to continue his torrid stretch of play. The senior guard is averaging 17.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.3 steals over his last four games.
Thanks in large part to Newton’s stellar play, UConn has been able to turn things around, and the mid-season surge has the Huskies feeling good heading into the final weeks of the regular season.
“We won two or three games in January,” Hawkins said. “It was definitely a tough stretch, definitely going to shake your confidence. But you just have to stay the course, trust the process and that’s what we did and that’s what we’re going to continue to do during this last stretch.”
The Bluejays (16-8, 10-3) have experienced a revival of their own and are in the midst of a seven-game winning streak that began following a rocky 3-8 stretch.
In its most recent triumph, Creighton beat Seton Hall 75-62 on Wednesday behind 19 points and nine rebounds from Baylor Scheierman and 15 points from Ryan Nembhard. The Bluejays had their best outing of the season from beyond the arc, sinking 12 of 20 (60 percent) 3-pointers.
Creighton has one of the more balanced attacks in the Big East, as five players boast double-digit scoring averages. Ryan Kalkbrenner leads the way with 15.5 points per game, followed by Trey Alexander (13.5), Scheierman (13.3), Arthur Kaluma (12.4) and Nembhard (11.6).
That balance has been especially evident over the Bluejays’ past four games, as four different players have led the team in scoring in wins over Xavier, Georgetown, Villanova and the Pirates.
“I trust the work I put in,” Scheierman said on a postgame radio interview following the win against Seton Hall. “Some games it doesn’t go in. Steph Curry is one of the best shooters ever and he has bad games, so I’m not really too worried about it. We have different guys who step up on different nights. (Wednesday) it was just my turn.”
Saturday marks the second meeting of the season between Creighton and the Huskies. UConn earned a 69-60 victory on Jan. 7, getting 26 points from Sanogo and 17 from Hawkins.
Creighton is 5-1 all-time against the Huskies.
–Field Level Media