Men's basketball: Purvis scores 18, UConn wins at Texas

Connecticut forward Shonn Miller (32) celebrates the team's win over Texas in an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in Austin, Texas. Connecticut won 71-66. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Rodney Purvis scored 18 points and Shonn Miller scored 13 and grabbed seven rebounds as the Huskies picked up their first true road win of the season, defeating Texas 71-66 at the Frank Erwin Center.  

After two straight games of shooting over 60 percent from the field, the Huskies shot 47 percent on Tuesday night. The Longhorns, led by Tevin Mack’s 20 points, shot 39 percent from the floor.

This UConn vs. Texas matchup wasn’t what most expected when the schedule came out. The Huskies were without their center Amida Brimah and the Longhorns were without their big man, Cameron Ridley, both due to injuries.

After losing to Syracuse, Gonzaga and Maryland, UConn needed a win against a power-conference opponent. And they did just that, going into Texas and winning a tough road game.

UConn (9-3) took advantage of Ridley’s absence, scoring 40 points in the paint.

The Huskies jumped out to an early 8-2 lead, but then Texas responded with a 14-2 run to take a 16-10 lead.

After a bit of a slow-shooting start, the Huskies rebounded to shoot 45 percent in the first half and they took a 34-33 lead into the break. Texas missed 10 of its last 12 shots to end the half.

The Longhorns (8-4) had 16 points in the paint in the first half (28 for the game).

Miller came out hot in the second half. He even stepped out and hit a three-pointer, his second in as many games. Miller’s put-back slam on the baseline made him the first UConn player in double figures and put the Huskies up 41-36.

Purvis, who has been playing with extreme confidence lately, started to take over down the stretch.

Purvis made five of the team’s last six field goals, including a runner in the lane that gave UConn an eight-point lead with 3:20 left (its biggest lead of the game). Before that basket, neither team had led by more than six points.

The game had 12 lead changes.

Texas’ Isaiah Taylor, who finished with 19 points, did his best to get the Longhorns to come back, scoring six of the team’s last nine points.

Sterling Gibbs and Daniel Hamilton made a combined six free throws to ice the game foe the Huskies.

Before Purvis started to take over, Hamilton made a few clutch baskets as well. After a triple-double performance against CCSU the last time out, Hamilton finished with 13 points, five rebounds and two assists.

Kentan Facey, who started in Brimah’s place, finished with seven points and eight rebounds.


Matt Zampini is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at matthew.zampini@uconn.edu. He tweets @Matt_Zamp.