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UConn's nonconference streak of double-digit wins now at 22 - ESPN

NEW YORK — The outcome of Monday's Empire Classic title game between No. 5 UConn and No. 15 Texas wasn't in doubt when Cam Spencer stepped to the line with 41 seconds left and the Huskies leading by eight.

But the reigning national champions had their eyes on something bigger — and for that, Spencer's free throws were imperative.

The Rutgers transfer hit both free throws, then hit two more 10 seconds later and UConn came out with an 81-71 win over the Longhorns.

It was UConn's 22nd straight win over a nonconference opponent by a double-digit margin, dating back to the start of last season and including the Huskies' dominant run through the NCAA tournament.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, North Carolina's 23 straight double-digit wins over nonconference opponents from Nov. 2008 to Nov. 2009 is the longest such streak in the past 40 years.

UConn's next two games are at home against Manhattan on Friday and New Hampshire next Monday. Win both, and the Huskies have the record.

When informed by ESPN after Monday's game that his team was now two wins from the record, UConn coach Dan Hurley responding jokingly: «We play the day after Thanksgiving, so we're canceling Thanksgiving. We're not going to let these guys eat the turkey. Be all sluggish and s--- the next day.»

UConn established itself as the best team in the country during the first half of last season, winning all 11 of its nonconference games by double-digits. After an up-and-down Big East campaign, the Huskies received a 4-seed in the NCAA tournament — and promptly won six games en route to the national championship by an average of 20.0 points, the fourth largest average margin since the tournament expanded in 1985. They were the fifth team since 1985 to win