Storrs — No. 24 UConn (18-7, 9-5 Big East) led by Adama Sanogo’s 20 points with 16 boards, beat Seton Hall 70-65 at Gampel Pavilion. It was the sixth double-double of the season for Sanogo. Guard R.J. Cole and Tyrese Martin each both chipped in 16 points.
The Huskies’ victory gave it some redemption for a tough loss to the Pirates earlier this season. Seton Hall won the first meeting between the teams, a Jan. 8 contest in Newark, New Jersey, 90-87 in overtime.
“When you have three guys playing at an all-conference level in a game, or throughout a season, you’re going to have a great season or a good chance of winning,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “Adama, R.J., and Tyrese all played like all-conference guys today.”
UConn’s defense had three early blocks, the Pirates missed 10 of its first 11 shots in the contest, and fell behind 9-3.
The Huskies missed its nine of first 10 shots from downtown the first half. But Isaiah Whaley, Cole, and Martin, each drained 3s for UConn that enable them to go on an 11-4 run to begin the half and take an eight-point advantage.
UConn had a 28-27 lead at the break, with Sanogo pouring in 12 points and grabbing nine boards.
“We’re a defensive team first. That’s where we set the tone, with defense and rebounding,” Martin said. “When we’re doing that a high level, I mean, it’s hard to beat us. And when you add the offense in like we did in the second half, it gets really hard to beat us.”
Seton Hall (15-9, 6-8) had won three of its last four games. Kadary Richmond, who had 27 points in the teams’ first meeting in early January, had 13 points. Jamir Harris added 15 points, Jared Rhoden had 14 points and Myles Cale scored 11 for the Pirates.
Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard mentioned UConn’s 41-31 edge on the glass probably cost his team the game.
“They destroyed us on the glass,” Willard said. “When you’re on the road and you’re playing in a great atmosphere, you can’t give as many second shots as we gave them.”
The Huskies is 15-1 when leading at the half this season. Its only loss was Jan. 8 when the Pirates won in overtime — a game the visiting Huskies led 41-37 at the half.
Seton Hall got within three points at the 11-minute mark of the second half, but a pair of drives to the basket by Cole were part of a 6-0 UConn run that put them ahead 53-44 with 8:43 left in the game. The Pirates would get no closer than five points for the rest of the contest.
The Huskies held the Pirates to 11-for-29 (37.9%) shooting from the field for the game.
“Obviously, thrilled to get that win, Hurley said. “It was a real Big East game with two really high-level teams. Seton Hall is one of the best teams we’ve played this year and one of the best coached. They are one of the toughest to beat.”
After two straight quiet games, UConn coach Dan Hurley challenged Sanogo to stay out of foul trouble and make his presence felt on both sides of the court. On Wednesday the Huskies’ best player answered the bell.
The game was a sellout and Huskies fans made their presence felt throughout the evening.
“Thanks to the crowd,” Hurley said. “The crowd was awesome. They’ve have been unbelievable since I’ve been here. I love these kids here. They treat me so unbelievable. I gave them a couple of Ric Flair Woo’s before the game and just got them extra amped up. The student turnout in Gampel was awesome today.”
Seton Hall: Host DePaul on Saturday.
UConn: Host Xavier on Saturday.