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No. 5 UConn never trails, routes No. 10 Gonzaga

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Donovan Clingan led all players with game-high 21 points and eight rebounds as No. 5 UConn never trailed in defeating No. 10 Gonzaga 76-63 Friday night in the Continental Tire Seattle Tip-Off at Climate Pledge Arena.

Cam Spencer scored 15 points for the Huskies (10-1) in a rematch of last season’s NCAA Tournament West Regional final, which UConn won 82-54 in Las Vegas. Alex Karaban added 11 points and Tristen Newton and Hassan Diarra scored nine apiece in a balanced attack. Newton dished out a game-high five assists, the same total as the entire Gonzaga team.

It was the second loss to a team nicknamed the Huskies in Seattle in less than a week for the Bulldogs (8-3), who dropped a 78-73 decision last Saturday at Washington.

Anton Watson led Gonzaga with 20 points and Ryan Nembhard added 15. Graham Ike, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer, was limited to five points on 2-of-5 shooting.

UConn built a 45-34 halftime lead by making 7 of 9 3-point attempts.

Clingan scored the game’s first four points in the paint and had eight in the first 3 1/2 minutes as the Huskies built an 11-4 lead.

UConn led 23-20 with 8:38 left in the half before Spencer scored 13 points over the next 5:44, including three 3-pointers. His trey with 2:54 left put the Huskies up 40-32 and they extended their lead to as many as 13 points before the intermission.

Nembhard made a layup on Gonzaga’s opening possession of the second half but Newton answered with a jumper in the paint and the Huskies led by double digits the rest of the way.

Karaban’s jumper in the paint extended the lead to 56-38 with 16:27 left, the Huskies’ largest lead of the night.

The Bulldogs trimmed the lead to 68-58 with 4:04 left before Clingan scored on an alley-oop dunk off a pass from Diara as UConn regained momentum.

UConn shot 55.8 percent from the field (29 of 52) while limiting Gonzaga to 39 percent (23 of 59), including just 2 of 12 from 3-point range.

–Field Level Media

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