Hawkins, No. 11 UConn hold off Providence 73-66 in Big East

Connecticut's Andre Jackson Jr. (44) dunks the ball in front of Providence's Jared Bynum (4),...
Connecticut's Andre Jackson Jr. (44) dunks the ball in front of Providence's Jared Bynum (4), Alyn Breed (0) and Ed Croswell (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinals of the Big East Conference Tournament, Thursday, March 9, 2023, in New York.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 8:30 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NEW YORK (AP) — Playing in front of a packed house, heavy on Huskies fans, fourth-seeded UConn looked like the favorite to win the Big East Tournament — at least for a while.

Jordan Hawkins scored 19 points and No. 11 UConn held off a furious, second-half rally to beat Providence 73-66 on Thursday in the Big East quarterfinals.

The Huskies (25-7) advanced to face top-seeded Marquette in Friday night’s semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

UConn led by as many as 26 with 12:30 left against the Friars.

“For like 28, 30 minutes, we were the best version of ourselves,” coach Dan Hurley said.

The Friars (21-11) turned up the pressure and had the lead down to five several times in the final few minutes.

“I’m really proud of how we responded,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said. “A lot of teams that would have been a 35-, 40-point loss.”

Alex Karaban made a 3 from the wing for UConn with a minute left to push the lead to 71-63. Noah Locke (14 points) responded with a 3 for Providence to cut the deficit back to five, but the Friars didn’t score again as UConn pushed its winning streak to six games.

“Tell me a team in America playing better than the team we just played?” Cooley said.

The Huskies will be making their third straight Big East Tournament semifinal appearance since rejoining the conference in 2020-21. They have won this tournament seven times, second only to Georgetown’s eight, but they have not played in the championship game since 2011.