No. 5 UConn delivered a statement 87-76 win over No. 9 North Carolina on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in the Jimmy V Classic, bouncing back from its lone loss of the season vs. preseason No. 1 Kansas last week.
The Huskies, the reigning national champions, won all six of their NCAA Tournament games by double-digits last spring on the road to the title and they continued that trend vs. the Tar Heels.
UConn (8-1) led nearly wire-to-wire win and never trailed after going down by one point in the opening minutes of the first half. North Carolina (7-2) cut the lead down to five midway through the second half before the Huskies went on a 22-16 to close it out.
The Tar Heels were off to their best start to a season in six years after missing the NCAA Tournament entirely as the preseason No. 1 team last season.
Despite getting little production from star big man Donovan Clingan, who scored only eight points in 19 minutes because of foul trouble, four UConn players scored in double figures led by Rutgers transfer Cam Spencer, who scored a game-high 23 points.
- Coming into this game, UConn was 3-3 in its last six games against top-10 opponents. Prior to that, the Huskies had lost 12 consecutive games against top-10 teams. On the flip side, UNC had won five of its last seven games against top-10 competition before falling to UConn.
- In a battle of historic blue bloods, UConn improved to 2-5 all-time against UNC. The Huskies had lost three consecutive games to the Tar Heels and their last win over UNC came on Jan. 19, 2002 at home.
- For the first time since Nov. 11, UConn star freshman Stephon Castle returned to the lineup. Castle missed the Huskies’ last six games after having a minor medical procedure performed on his left knee and scored three points in 11 minutes off the bench.
- UNC guard RJ Davis has scored 20+ points in five consecutive games. Davis finished with 26 points in the loss.