STORRS, Conn. (AP) UConn unveiled its fifth national championship banner on Monday, then unveiled a new-look team that expects to compete for a sixth title.

Alex Karaban scored a career-high 22 points to lead five players in double figures and the No. 6 Huskies routed Northern Arizona 95-52.

Tristen Newton scored 14 points, Donovan Clingan and Stephon Castle each had 12 and Samson Johnson added 11 for UConn after an raucous banner ceremony that put a cap on the 2023 title.

“In shootaround when you look up there, that's something you're never going to forget about,” coach Dan Hurley said. “But we've been working so hard since June to get this team ready to play and no one is really thinking about that. But that was cool. I got emotional.”

The Huskies shot 56% (32 of 57) from the floor and held the Lumberjacks to 34% (20 of 59).

Liam Lloyd led Northern Arizona with 15 points.

The Huskies won their games in last year’s NCAA Tournament by an average of 20 points, but then lost their top three players, Adama Sanogo, Jordan Houston and Andre Jackson Jr. to the NBA. That trio averaged a combined 40.1 points and 17.7 rebounds a game.

This year the team’s literally centered around Clingan. But the 7-foot-2 sophomore missed the last month of the preseason with a right foot strain. He is being eased back into the rotation and played just 15 minutes, grabbing eight rebounds.

“Just to be able to get my first college start, be able to get out on the floor, coming off an injury and feeling good out there, it was definitely a great feeling," Clingan said.

The sophomore center opened the scoring with an offensive rebound and layup, part of a 14-5 opening run. The Huskies took their first 20-point lead when Karaban rebounded his own miss and put it in to make it 39-19. UConn led 47-30 at the half.


UConn's five freshman, led by Castle, combined for 19 points and Rutgers transfer Cam Spencer had another eight.


Johnson, a 6-10 junior, had a total of 11 points last season in 12 games, but is expected to play a much bigger role this year as Clingan's backup. He hit 5 of 6 shots, including some highlight-reel dunks and added five rebounds and three blocked shots.

Hurley said the coaches were worried last season that he might “have one foot in the portal,” but pleaded with him to come back.

“He's a really good person and he's a loyal person and you can see he's got super talent, athletically,” Hurley said.


Northern Arizona: The Lumberjacks, who made a surprise run to the title game of the Big Sky Conference Tournament last season, are picked to finish eighth in the league this year in both the media and coaches preseason polls. Coach Shane Bucar brought his team out to watch the pregame festivities.

“We used that as inspiration,” he said. “We want to be the Big Sky champs this year.”

UConn: The Huskies are seeking to become the first program to repeat as national champions since Florida did it in 2006 and 2007.


Northern Arizona: Visits Grand Canyon on Sunday in Phoenix.

UConn: Hosts Stonehill in Hartford on Saturday.

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