Jack Nunge had 22 points and nine rebounds, and No. 25 Xavier snapped a two-game losing streak with a 74-68 victory over No. 24 Connecticut on Friday night.
Zach Freemantle scored all 12 of his points in the second half, and Nate Johnson also had 12 points for Xavier (17-7, 7-6 Big East).
R.J. Cole scored 22 points to lead UConn (16-7, 7-5 Big East). Tyrese Martin added 18 points for the Huskies.
The game, originally scheduled for Dec. 28, was postponed due to COVID-19 issues in the UConn program.
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The teams met for just the fourth time, and second time at Cintas Center, with UConn winning there, 80-72, on Feb 13, 2021.
Both teams have been plagued recently by slow offensive starts, especially Xavier, which trailed at halftime in seven of its previous eight games.
But the Musketeers raced to a rare halftime lead on Friday, helped by Johnson’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer which put them ahead 34-31. Johnson had 10 points in the first half.
Cole and Sanogo each picked up two early fouls and played a combined 18 minutes in the first half.
Paul Scruggs and Zach Freemantle, who were scoreless in the first half, combined for 15 points to help the Musketeers extend their lead to 54-46 with 9:50 left.
UConn kept the score close by converting 10 Xavier turnovers into 14 points.
The game got heated in the second half when UConn coach Dan Hurley and Huskies guard Andre Jackson received technical fouls less than a minute apart.
The Musketeers led by as many as 10 points in the second half before the Huskies got within three points with 30 seconds remaining.
Xavier played without its second-leading 3-point shooter, Adam Kunkel, who was sidelined by not related to COVID-19, according to coach Travis Steele.
UConn: The Huskies snapped a two-game losing streak with a win over No. 18 Marquette on Tuesday to begin a stretch of four games in nine days, three on the road. But they couldn’t build off that momentum.
Xavier: After losing two straight games, and four of their previous six, including a bad loss at home to DePaul, the Musketeers needed a win to get back on track and get above .500 in the Big East.
UConn: Plays at St. John’s on Sunday.
Xavier: Hosts St. John’s on Wednesday.