Hawkins leads unbeaten No. 8 UConn past Okla St 74-64

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Jordan Hawkins scored a career-high 26 points to lead unbeaten No. 8 UConn past Oklahoma State 74-64 on Thursday night in the Big East-Big 12 Battle.

Adama Sanogo added 20 points and Andre Jackson scored 11 for the Huskies (9-0).

Hawkins was 6 of 13 from the field and 5 of 9 on 3-pointers. He made 9 of 12 at the foul line, where UConn finished 24 of 33.

“I just caught fire early and my teammates did a great job getting me the ball,” Hawkins said. “Everything felt like it was going in.”

It was the smallest margin of victory for UConn so far this season. The Huskies’ next closest was an 82-67 win over then-No. 18 Alabama last Friday at the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Oregon.

“I don’t know if eight is high enough for this team, I mean their ranking,” OSU coach Mike Boynton Jr. said. “From my view, for whatever it’s worth, (UConn) is capable of winning a national championship.

“They have done a tremendous job here and had an electric atmosphere.”

Kalib Boone scored 15 points to lead the Cowboys (5-3). Avery Anderson III added 14.

Hawkins, a sophomore, had 18 points at the half as UConn dominated the final eight minutes to build a 48-31 lead.

“Obviously, our spurt-ability was on display with the shooting,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said.

Tyreek Smith’s three-point play gave OSU its final lead, 28-25 with 7:27 remaining.

UConn responded with a 15-0 run, including eight points from the foul line, over the next 4:27. The Huskies dominated at the foul line, hitting 15 of 19 in the half compared to OSU’s 4-for-4.

The Cowboys were saddled with first-half foul trouble. Starting center Moussa Cisse picked up his second at 17:42 and exited. Five players had at least two fouls at he break.

The Cowboys didn’t cut the deficit under double digits until the final minute of the game. OSU had a 33-26 scoring advantage in the second half.

“The end result was kind of what we expected, having to close the game out against a very good team,” Hurley said.

Hawkins’ previous career high was 20 points earlier this season against North Carolina-Wilmington.

BIG PICTURE

The Cowboys played their highest-ranked opponent since losing to No. 7 Baylor last season on Feb. 21. OSU is 1-4 against top-10 opponents since the start of last season.

UConn is off to its best start since 2013-14, when it also began 9-0. The program’s best start was 19-0 by the 1998-99 team, which went on to win the school’s first national championship.

HIGHLIGHT REEL

Jackson made his first start of the season for the Huskies and wasted no time firing up the crowd. The junior guard slammed home an alley-oop pass from Tristen Newton for the team’s first basket.

STAT OF THE GAME

UConn scored 27 points off 17 OSU turnovers. The Huskies picked up 17 of those points in the first half. The Cowboys had eight points on seven UConn giveaways.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

“When knew they were coming to us, so this was a big win for us,” Sanogo said. “They thought they had a chance to win the game tonight — they did not.”

UP NEXT

Oklahoma State: Hosts Sam Houston on Tuesday.

UConn: At Florida on Wednesday for its first true road game.

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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