Four-seeded UConn crushes eight-seeded Arkansas 88-65 to reach the school’s 12th Elite Eight appearance behind 24-point Jordan Hawkins
After struggling in his previous two games, Connecticut guard Jordan Hawkins found his form again, scoring 24 points on a 6-13 shooting line to lead the UConn Huskies to an 88-65 victory over the eight. seeded Arkansas.
The Huskies led the Razorbacks by 29 points at one point in the game, as forward Adama Sanogo grabbed 18 points and eight rebounds.
Andre Jackson Jr. continued his strong two-way game with seven points, eight rebounds and seven assists in the contest.
This marks UConn’s 12th appearance in the Elite Eight, their first since 2014 when they won the national championship.
Alex Karaban had 11 points and seven rebounds and Nahiem Alleyne added 10 points as the fourth-seeded Huskies led by as many as 29 points in the West Region semifinal contest.
Jordan Hawkins led the way for UConn in an 88-65 win over Arkansas to make the Elite Eight
Anthony Black had 20 points and five steals and Ricky Council IV scored 17 points for eighth-seeded Arkansas (22-14).
Nick Smith Jr. added 11 for the Razorbacks, who were looking to make the Elite Eight for the third straight year.
UConn will face second seed UCLA or third seed Gonzaga in the regional final on Saturday. The Huskies have won 12 of their last 14 games.
The beating was the first NCAA Tournament game to be held in Las Vegas.
Arkansas was unable to meet their fans in Sin City, including alumnus and golfer John Daly, who was in attendance. The Huskies had Bill Murray on the sidelines cheering on UConn, as the comedy legend’s son is an assistant coach at Connecticut.
The Huskies shot 57.4 percent from the field, including 9-of-20 from 3-point range, and controlled the boards with a 43-31 advantage in rebounding.
UConn held a 42-24 advantage in points in the paint and improved to 14-0 this season against teams not in their conference (Big East).
UConn and Arkansas drew celebrity fans, with comedian and actor Bill Murray (left) rooting for the Huskies and retired golfer John Daly (right) rooting for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas shot just 31.7 percent from the field and was 5-for-16 from behind the arc. The Razorbacks had just seven assists to the Huskies’ 22.
UConn led by 17 at halftime and gave the Razorbacks no chance to get back in the game as they began the second half on a 16-4 run.
Hawkins scored the final six to give the Huskies a 62-33 lead with 15:44 remaining.
Black made a 3-pointer for Arkansas with 13:51 remaining in the game for his club’s first field goal at 8:09.
The 3-pointer started a 10-0 run, but UConn responded with an 11-3 push with Hawkins hitting two 3-pointers as the Huskies took a 73-46 lead with 10:29 remaining.
UConn held a 22-9 rebounding advantage in the first half while taking a 49-29 lead. Hawkins scored 10 points for the Huskies.
Dan Hurley (left) and his Huskies outplayed Eric Musselman (right) and the Razorbacks throughout the game
UConn’s lead was only three points after the Razorbacks’ Jordan Walsh made a jumper with 12:04 remaining in the half.
Twenty seconds later, Tristen Newton hit a 3-pointer to start a 14-0 run. Sanogo capped it off with a layup to make it 34-17 with 7:42 remaining.
Makhi Mitchell’s layup 19 seconds later ended an Arkansas point drought of 4:41.
The Razorbacks shot just 33.3 percent at the half, while UConn made a sizzling 60.7 percent of their shots.