STORRS, Conn. (AP) Freshman guard Stephon Castle scored a season-high 20 points and top-ranked UConn held off Providence 74-65 Wednesday night in a foul-filled Big East battle.

Tristen Newton added 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Cam Spencer scored 15 as the Huskies (19-2, 9-1) won their ninth straight in a game that included 48 fouls - 29 of them on Providence.

“These are steel cage matches,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said. "Based on how physical the game is, they could have called another 50 fouls.”

Devin Carter and Josh Oduro each had 20 points for Providence (14-7, 5-5). Oduro and Castle both fouled out.

The Friars hit just 13 of their 26 free throws. UConn was 26 for 36 at the line.

“Made free throws are part of discipline and we didn't (make them),” Providence coach Kim English said. “So, we didn't deserve to win.”

UConn led by just a point at halftime and trailed by three early in the second half. But two 3-pointers from Castle, an offensive foul on Carter and a technical on the Providence bench helped spark a 13-2 run that gave the Huskies a 44-36 lead.

“Steph saved us tonight,” Hurley said. “I’m not sure if there’s a freshman in the country, both ends of the court, on the glass, that’s played as well as he played tonight. A man’s game.”

Six players had four fouls with five minutes left and UConn up 58-54.

Jayden Pierre became the first to foul out with 3:43 remaining on a drive by Spencer. His free throws stretched the lead back to eight.

Castle fouled out with just under two minutes left, and Providence again cut the deficit to five.

But after Donovan Clingan blocked a shot, Oduro fouled out on the other end and - fittingly - UConn secured the win from the free-throw line.

Providence entered on a three-game winning streak that followed four consecutive losses after star forward Bryce Hopkins went down with a season-ending knee injury on Jan. 3.

Clingan, who missed almost a month with a foot injury, picked up two fouls in the first four minutes. He played only four minutes in the first half and just under 15 minutes in the game.

With the 7-foot-2 sophomore out, Providence went on a 10-0 run to take a 12-6 lead.

UConn forward Alex Karaban also missed six minutes of the first half after injuring his right ankle. He came down awkwardly after making a driving layup and had to be helped to the locker room. But he was able to return to the floor and hit a 3-pointer that gave UConn a 25-24 lead.

The Huskies led 29-28 at halftime.

“I think it was just one of those Big East battles that we had to gut out,” Spencer said.


Providence: The Friars fell to 2-16 against top-ranked teams. They have never beaten a No. 1 squad on the road.

UConn: The Huskies have not lost in 2024, going 8-0 during January.


Providence: The Friars travel to Philadelphia for a game against Villanova on Sunday.

UConn: The Huskies head back to Madison Square Garden to face St. John's on Saturday.


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