Top seed UConn steamrolls into Sweet 16 with 75-58 win over Northwestern

NEW YORK (AP) — Donovan Clingan, Tristen Newton and top overall seed UConn overwhelmed an undermanned Northwestern team 75-58 on Sunday night to sail into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Newton had 20 points and 10 assists, and Clingan finished with 14 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks as the Huskies (33-3) led wire-to-wire and became the first defending national champions to reach the regional semifinals since Duke in 2016.

Connecticut built a 30-point cushion and matched a program record for wins set by the 2013-14 national championship squad. It will play Thursday night in the East Region semifinals against No. 5 seed San Diego State or 13th-seeded Yale in Boston, about an 85-mile drive from UConn’s campus.

The Huskies beat a fifth-seeded San Diego State squad 76-59 in last year’s national championship game. They lost Adama Sanogo, Jordan Hawkins and Andre Jackson Jr. to the NBA from that talented team, but this balanced and focused group has looked even more dominant as it attempts to become the first program to repeat as NCAA champion since Florida in 2007.

Yale, the Huskies’ in-state neighbor located about 60 miles south, won the most recent matchup between the schools, 45-44 at Storrs in December 2014 — against a UConn team coming off a national title the previous season.

Sound familiar?

Undersized and overmatched, Boo Buie and the ninth-seeded Wildcats (22-12) were buried under a dizzying display of dunks, blocks, alley-oops and layups.

They made a late push that prompted Huskies coach Dan Hurley to call a timeout with 5:26 remaining, but Northwestern never got the margin under 16.