No. 2 UConn upset by No. 22 Xavier, 83-73, for first loss of season

Connecticut Huskies forward Adama Sanogo (21) controls the ball against Xavier Musketeers forward Jack Nunge (24) in the first half at Cintas Center
Connecticut Huskies forward Adama Sanogo (21) controls the ball against Xavier Musketeers forward Jack Nunge (24) in the first half at Cintas Center / Aaron Doster - USA TODAY

CINCINNATI (AP) — Zach Freemantle scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Colby Jones also scored 16, helping No. 22 Xavier hand No. 2 UConn its first loss of the season, 83-73, on Saturday.

Jack Nunge started the game for Xavier despite an illness that limited him during warmups. He didn’t rejoin the team after halftime until a couple of minutes into the half but finished with 15 points in 24 minutes. Jerome Hunter also had 15.

Adama Sanogo led UConn with 18 points. Andre Jackson Jr. scored 14 points and Jordan Hawkins had 11 for the Huskies.

Xavier (12-3, 4-0 Big East), which joined the AP Top 25 rankings this week, has three losses by a combined 13 points to Indiana, Duke, Gonzaga.

UConn (14-1, 3-1 Big East) was off to its best start since beginning the 1998 season 19-0 and going on to win its first NCAA championship. The loss Saturday kept the Huskies from their best start since 1994-95 and left only No. 1 Purdue and No. 22 New Mexico as the only undefeated Division I teams this season.

The matchup was the sixth all-time meeting between the schools, with the teams spitting the past two.

Xavier led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but seven turnovers including four by Jones helped UConn get back in the game. The Huskies led 41-42 at halftime, led by Sanogo’s 10 points.

Freemantle had 11 points and six rebounds in the first half to help the Musketeers get off to a fast start.

UConn ended the first half on a 16-5 run. The Huskies remained hot after halftime, connecting on their first two 3-point attempts.

Freemantle’s corner 3-pointer put the Musketeers ahead 66-62 with 7:17 left.

Two Xavier turnovers within 15 seconds led to a quick run by UConn. Jackson’s layup in transition following his steal tied the score at 71 with 3:54 remaining.

With Xavier leading 74-71 with 2:25 to go after a Freemantle free throw, UConn coach Dan Hurley was assessed a technical foul. Boum hit two free throws and Freemantle hit his second, putting Xavier ahead 77-71.

BIG PICTURE

UConn: Depth has been the hallmark of this Huskies squad, with 10 players averaging more than 14 minutes. All nine players who played Saturday scored for the Huskies.

Xavier: Turnovers have been an issue for the Musketeers, who averaged 14.1 turnovers coming in, with 15 or more eight times this season. They had only five turnovers in the second half Saturday after committing seven in the first half.

UP NEXT

UConn: At Providence on Wednesday.

Xavier: At Villanova on Saturday.