PC Knocks Off #4 UConn, Moves To 5-0 To Start BIG EAST Play
BY KYLE HIGHTOWER
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Bryce Hopkins scored 27 points and Providence dominated the second half and knocked off fourth-ranked UConn 73-61 on Wednesday night for their eighth straight victory.
Noah Locke added 17 points to help the Friars (13-3, 5-0) earn their second win over a ranked team this season and remain unbeaten in the Big East. It was Providence’s first win over the Huskies at Amica Mutual Pavilion since Feb. 20, 2012, when the Friars won 72-70. They played on campus during the pandemic.
Jordan Hawkins led the Huskies (14-2, 3-2) with 15 points, and Donovan Clingan added 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Huskies have lost two in a row after opening the season with 14 straight wins and winning their first three conference games. UConn was held under 70 points for only the second time this season. The Huskies entered averaging 82 points per game.
The Friars added to a three-point halftime lead thanks to going 8 of 18 from the 3-point line and outscoring the Huskies 29-10 at the free-throw line.
Ed Croswell finished a fast break with a two-handed slam to put the Friars in front 51-43 as part of a 13-8 run that put the Friars in front 56-46 with just over nine minutes to play.
UConn cut it to 60-55, and a few possessions later Hopkins was whistled for a charge — his fourth foul — with 4:54 left. But he stayed aggressive, getting fouled after a Huskies turnover and dropping in a pair of free throws to help Providence pushed the lead back up to 64-55 with 3:33 showing on the clock.
Providence won a mad scramble after three misses on its next possession, with Locke dropping in a deep 3 from the wing.
Providence led for just 2:26 in the first half but used a late surge to take a 33-30 edge into the break.
The Huskies leaned on their size advantage early, compacting the Friars in the half court and forcing them into some unbalanced shots.
UConn controlled the glass, outrebounding Providence 21-14 and holding a 22-8 edge in the paint in the opening 20 minutes.
The Friars were hot from the outside, though, going 5 of 9 from beyond the arc despite shooting just 5 of 15 from two-point range.
They also were able to generate offense without starter Jared Bynum, who went to the locker room with a midsection injury and sat out the final 11 minutes of the half. Alyn Breed took his place in the lineup to begin the second half, with Bynum remaining on the bench the rest of the way.
UConn: This is not the start to conference play the Huskies were looking for after winning their first three. They lost 83-73 at No. 22 Xavier over the weekend.
Providence: The Friars continue to find a way to stay in ball games, this time negating a big height disadvantage by hitting outside shots and getting to the line. That will help them stay in almost every game as they try to defend their regular-season Big East title.
UConn returns home to host Creighton on Saturday.
Providence hosts St. John’s on Saturday.