No. 3 UConn routs Seton Hall, wins outright Big East title

Stephon Castle's one-handed slam fires up the UConn faithful (0:16)

UConn fans go wild for Stephon Castle as he gets up for the one-handed dunk. (0:16)

STORRS, Conn. -- No. 3 UConn is the defending men's basketball national champion. However, the Huskies had not won even a share of the Big East regular-season title in 18 years.

Donovan Clingan scored 19 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead a balanced attack, and Connecticut clinched its first outright Big East championship in 25 years Sunday with a 91-61 rout of Seton Hall.

The team considered the achievement big enough to cut down the nets at Gampel Pavilion after the game.

"The hardest thing to do is to be excellent over the course of three, four months in a brutal, hard league," said UConn coach Dan Hurley, who played at Seton Hall.

Freshman Stephon Castle tied a career high with 21 points and Tristen Newton had 17 points and 10 assists for the Huskies (26-3, 16-2 Big East), who finished this season undefeated at home (16-0). Alex Karaban added 13 points.

Dre Davis had 20 points and Kadary Richmond scored 15 to lead Seton Hall (18-11, 11-7), which remains in fourth place in the Big East with the loss, a game ahead of Villanova.

UConn, which lost at Seton Hall by 15 points in December, shot 56% from the floor, outscored the Pirates 52-30 in the paint, outrebounded them 38-26 and scored 24 points off 11 Seton Hall turnovers.

"I feel like our defense really went to the next level," said Clingan, who missed five games after suffering a right foot injury during the loss in New Jersey. "Coach has really emphasized just trying to work on our defense, just trying to really guard the ball at a high level, rebound the ball at a high level."

Davis had 12 points in the first 10 minutes and 16 points in the first half for Seton Hall. His three-point play on a layup sparked a 7-0 run that gave the Pirates an 18-14 lead.

But UConn responded with a 15-2 run, highlighted by a steal and one of several highlight-reel dunks from Castle.

A floater in the lane from Karaban put the Huskies up by 15 points at intermission and the Huskies outscored Seton Hall 47-32 in the second half.

The Huskies previously won all of their regular-season home games back in 2005-06, when they finished 16-0 in the league. That was the same season the program won a share of its most recent Big East regular-season title.

"We feel it's harder to win the Big East than the national championship," Newton said.

The Pirates, picked to finish ninth in the conference's preseason poll, remain on the bubble for an NCAA tournament berth, but it was a tough week. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Seton Hall authored consecutive losses by 20-plus points for first time since 2008-09, having lost by 21 at No. 12 Creighton on Wednesday.

Pirates coach Shaheen Holloway did not speak with reporters or make his players available after the game. They entered Sunday as one of Joe Lunardi's last four teams in the tournament.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.