A crucial Big East matchup lived up to the hype Wednesday on FS1 as No. 13 Xavier defeated No. 19 UConn in Storrs, Connecticut.
It’s been a tumultuous season for the Huskies, who opened the season 14-0 before hitting a rough patch that saw them fall to 5-6 in conference play. They are led by coach Dan Hurley, who is the team’s unapologetic emotional catalyst.
Meanwhile, Xavier (17-4, 9-1) has climbed to the top of the Big East behind Sean Miller, who is in his first year of a second term leading the Musketeers.
Here are the best plays!
FINAL: Xavier 82, UConn 79
All Xavier early
The Musketeers came out the door breathing fire.
Adam Kunkel got Xavier started with a 3-pointer on its first possession, while Zach Freemantle scored four of his first nine points, including a low-post bucket, forcing a UConn timeout. Xavier led 9-0 with 16 minutes left in the first half.
Xavier could hear it from behind the arc at first. Connecting on four of their first five three-point attempts, the Musketeers led 20-9 at the second television timeout.
Climb the ladder
Xavier guard Desmond Claude took matters into his own hands, forcing the issue off the dribble and sinking over a pair of UConn defenders.
Xavier dominates the first half
The Musketeers had their way at both ends of the floor in the first half. Xavier shot 50% from the field and 45.5% from behind the arc, while UConn shot just 32.3% from the field and 7.7% from behind the arc .
Xavier led 39-24 at halftime.
Souley Boum couldn’t miss coming out of the break, making a trio of 3-pointers before the first TV timeout of the second half.
getting back to it
Xavier extended its lead to 17 early in the second half, but UConn started to show some life soon after.
After the 3-ball started to fall for the Huskies, Adama Sanogo recovered a fumble and muscled in an inside bucket, cutting the lead to eight and forcing a Xavier timeout with 13:46 left in the second. party
We have a game!
After getting within striking distance of Xavier, UConn continued to close the gap.
Shortly after Xavier’s timeout, UConn’s Jordan Hawkins drained a 3-pointer. Hawkins later made another long ball off a pass from Sanogo, cutting the lead to two and forcing another Xavier timeout.
UConn cut the lead to one, but Xavier rallied back with a 10-0 run.
That run featured a pair of contested layups by Jerome Hunter and Claude, shown below, and a 3-pointer by Colby Jones, putting the Musketeers up 11 and forcing a UConn timeout.
And UConn gets it all back
It was a second half of runs, and UConn made another one of its own.
A 7-0 run by the Huskies was capped by Andre Jackson’s steal and slam into the other end, cutting the deficit to one.
Xavier saves it
Jack Nunge came up with a pair of close-up buckets in the final minutes of regulation, helping Xavier seal the win.
Check out the full game highlights here:
Highlights: Souley Boum leads Xavier to win
Xavier’s Souley Boum scored 21 points in an 82-79 win over the No. 19 UConn Huskies.
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