Reserve Donovan Clingan collected 15 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double as No. 20 UConn pulled away down the stretch for a 71-53 victory over Iowa State in the championship game of the Phil Knight Invitational Sunday night in Portland, Ore.
The Huskies (8-0) are off to their best start since winning their first nine games of the 2013-14 season, when they went on to beat Iowa State in the Sweet Sixteen at Madison Square Garden en route to their fourth national championship. UConn earned its third double-digit win of the tournament after beating Oregon and No. 18 Alabama.
Sign up to receive the daily top stories from the National Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.
Thanks for signing up!
A welcome email is on its way. If you don't see it, please check your junk folder.
The next issue of NP Posted will soon be in your inbox.
UConn remained unbeaten despite a choppy performance at times, as it overcame 19 turnovers and a quiet night from standout big man Adama Sanogo, who was held to four points in 22 minutes due to foul trouble.
Clingan shot 5 of 6 from the field and hit five free throws while also getting four of UConn’s 21 offensive boards. The 7-foot-2 center earned MVP honors of the event despite not playing more than 19 minutes in any game.
Tristen Newton added 13 points but committed eight turnovers. Andre Jackson Jr. collected 10 points and 13 rebounds as the Huskies outrebounded Iowa State (5-1) by a whopping 48-19 margin. Alex Karaban contributed 10 points for UConn, which shot 41.5 percent but also hit 20 of 25 free throws.
Osun Osunniyi led the Cyclones with 14 points, but Iowa State shot 40.7 percent and struggled to get into an offensive rhythm after its five-point win over top-ranked North Carolina.
Tamin Lipsey added 12 points and Jaren Holmes contributed 11, but Gabe Kalscheur was held to six and Caleb Grill scored one point after his 31-point showing against North Carolina.
The Huskies opened a 23-13 lead with 7:03 left in the first half when Clingan was credited with a basket after Osunniyi was called for goaltending. UConn held a 38-28 lead by halftime following Hassan Diarra’s 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
A dunk by Clingan opened a 50-38 lead with 12:31 remaining in the second, but a 3-pointer by Holmes cut the lead to 53-48 with 9:47 left.
UConn regained a double-digit lead when Karaban’s dunk made it 58-48 with 8:09 remaining, and the Huskies cruised from there.
–Field Level Media
Check out our sports section for the latest news and analysis. Care for a wager? Head to our sports betting section for news and odds.