INDIANAPOLIS (AP)Adama Sanogo had 27 points and 14 rebounds, helping No. 3 Connecticut beat Butler 68-46 on Saturday night.
Jordan Hawkins added 12 points as the Huskies (12-0, 1-0 Big East) extended the program’s fourth-longest winning streak to start a season. UConn’s No. 3 ranking is the team’s highest since 2009, and it likely will move up in the next poll after No. 2 Virginia lost to No. 5 Houston on Saturday.
”Obviously Adama played like an All-American, one of the best players in the country, which he is,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said.
The Huskies pulled away late in the first half. The Bulldogs (8-4, 0-1) were unable to match the physicality of Sanogo, a 6-foot-9 junior center from Mali. The Huskies dominated on the boards, 54-30.
”We just have to stick to our identity,” Sanogo said. ”Coming into here, we know it’s going to be a tough game. No pressure, just play the way I’ve been playing.”
Manny Bates scored 16 points for Butler on 7-for-11 shooting. Chuck Harris had 12.
The Bulldogs opened with an 8-2 run, but Sanogo quickly started to assert himself inside. By the time Connecticut was ahead 25-17, Sanogo had 12 points.
”Adama is going to have to do this for us at times,” Hurley said. ”That’s the responsibility of one of the best players in the country. When we have a number of people struggling offensively, we’re going to need him to take over.”
Connecticut’s Nahiem Alleyne sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 28-20 halftime lead.
When Butler closed to 43-39 midway through the second half, Sanogo stepped out and sank his only 3-pointer. The Huskies then went on a 12-0 run to build a 61-42 lead with 4:33 remaining.
”If I’m open, why not, I’m going to take it,” Sanogo said of the 3.
Butler coach Thad Matta lamented his team’s inability to get closer than the four-point deficit.
”As poorly as we played, and they probably had a lot to do with it, we were in position to have a chance,” Matta said. ”Gosh, did we struggle to put the ball in the basket tonight.”
Butler made just 16 of 54 shots (29.6%).
The Huskies are unbeaten in six career meetings against the Bulldogs, starting with a win in the 2011 NCAA championship.
Connecticut: Following a slow start, the Huskies showed off their resolve. Even when it was missing shots, UConn had superior ball movement and was better on the boards to create more scoring chances.
Butler: A second-half comeback came up short, but the Bulldogs proved they can contend with an elite Big East team. Butler had won four in a row before hosting its highest-ranked opponent since No. 1 Villanova in 2017.
Connecticut: Hosts Georgetown on Tuesday.
Butler: At Creighton on Thursday.
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