No. 18 UConn tops St. John's

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Feb. 25—NEW YORK — It was a balanced attack for the UConn men's basketball team Saturday afternoon.

Jordan Hawkins scored 20 points to lead four Huskies in double-figure scoring as No. 18 UConn topped St. John's 95-86 before an announced crowd of 12,241 at Madison Square Garden.

"It was basically a home game, for real," Hawkins said of a very pro-UConn crowd in attendance. "It's always great playing here. I missed out on the chance to play here last year in the Big East tournament. But it's always fun playing in here."

UConn (22-7, 11-7 Big East) led by nine at the half and started the second on an 8-2 run — including the first six points of the half — to make it 58-43.

St. John's (17-13, 7-12) was held without a field goal for the first 4:59 of the half until a layup by Posh Alexander cut the deficit to 58-45.

The Huskies' lead grew to as many as 17 thanks to a tip in from Donovan Clingan with 13:36 to play. But St. John's chipped away, using a 12-4 run over a 3:50 span to cut the score to 66-57 with 9:42 to play.

But the Huskies regained the momentum when Hawkins hit two free throws after Dylan Addae-Wusu was assessed a technical foul 10 seconds later.

Those makes started a 7-3 run UConn run to push the lead back to up to 13 with 7:59 to play. UConn's lead wouldn't dip below 11 again until a three from AJ Storr made cut the score to 92-84 with 28.0 seconds to play.

St. John's coach Mike Anderson was also assessed a technical foul in the second half.

"I really thought we played offensively, first half specifically, really, really clean with only three turnovers," UConn coach Dan Hurley said. "I thought we got sloppy, and the game got choppy. Obviously, there were a lot of foul calls in the second half. It got real ratty, which turned it into an uglier game. But I was just impressed with the way that we played offensively. Just making shots and looking like a team that has some real offensive punch."

Adama Sanogo (18), Joey Calcaterra (15) and Andre Jackson (15) also reached double figures for the Huskies. Storr paced St. John's with 20 points while Alexander (18), David Jones (15) and Joel Soriano (12) also hit double figures.

UConn trailed 3-0 early before embarking on a 12-4 run to take a five-point lead. Hawkins hit a pair of three-pointers to highlight the run.

St. John's kept the game close but couldn't tie it up. Up 28-24, UConn outscored the hosts 22-11 over a 7:03 span to take a 15-point lead, its largest of the game at that point.

Hawkins' underhanded lob pass to set up aJackson alley-oop dunk highlighted the run for the Huskies.

"It was a terrible pass and he's just Andre Jackson so," Hawkins said with a laugh. "I just threw it up in the air."

Alexander scored the final six points of the half for the Red Storm as they trimmed the deficit to 50-41 at the half.

Tensions between the teams boiled over early on Saturday. Following a foul on Sanogo by Esahia Nyiwe, Nyiwe and UConn's Tristen Newton were each assessed a technical foul. Neither team shot free throws.

Hawkins and Calcaterra each had 11 points to pace the Huskies in the first half while Nahiem Alleyne and Sanogo each had eight. Alleyne's first of two made free throws with 10:32 left in the first half gave him exactly 1,000 points in his collegiate career.

Storr had 11 to lead St. John's in the opening half while Alexander contributed 10.

UConn returns to the XL Center Wednesday when it hosts DePaul in its final home game of the season. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (CBS Sports Network).

For coverage of UConn football and men's basketball as well as area high school and local youth sports, follow Adam Betz on Twitter: @AdBetz1, Facebook: Adam Betz — Sports Writer, and Instagram: @AdBetzJI.