Men's Basketball: Huskies doomed by slow start in loss to No. 13 Oregon

UConn guards Rodney Purvis and Alterique Gilbert lunge for the ball during a 67-58 loss to Wagner on Nov. 11 at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs. (Jackson Haigis/The Daily Campus)

UConn guards Rodney Purvis and Alterique Gilbert lunge for the ball during a 67-58 loss to Wagner on Nov. 11 at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs. (Jackson Haigis/The Daily Campus)

The UConn men’s basketball team’s Maui trip came to an end Wednesday with a 79-69 loss to No. 13 Oregon in the fifth-place game of the Maui Invitational. The Huskies (2-4) were buried by slow starts to both halves, despite another stellar performance from guard Jalen Adams, who posted 27 points on 12-for-21 shooting.

UConn was blitzed out of the gates by a fast Oregon team, falling behind 10-0 in less than 90 seconds, and then 18-3 after 4:25 of game time. The Ducks did not force many UConn turnovers as Oklahoma State did Monday, but built their lead with smart transition play and strong accuracy from 3-point range.

The Huskies eventually fell behind 30-9 midway through the half, but that would be their largest deficit as they bounced back and began to make some plays. Adams’ playmaking abilities were crucial to that rally, as well as some strong finishes down low from center Amida Brimah and a couple of 3-pointers from senior guard Rodney Purvis. UConn trailed 39-28 at halftime.

However, their climb back into the game was essentially reset as they again emerged from the locker room sluggishly to begin play. The Ducks opened the second half on a 14-6 run to build a 19-point cushion, fueled by hot long range shooting from forward Chris Boucher. Boucher led Oregon with 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting, including a 5-for-7 mark from 3-point range.

The teams traded buckets for a while after that, before UConn put together a 12-3 run to trim the Ducks’ lead to 67-61 with 4:08 remaining in the game, bookended by a pair of athletic finishes from Adams.

Oregon retook control after that, as guard Dylan Ennis put the game away with a trio of layups and some free throws. With the loss, the Huskies finished sixth place in the Maui Invitational, with a win over Chaminade and losses to Oklahoma State and Oregon.

Adams led UConn with 27 points, while Purvis finished with 13 and Brimah added 11. Adams also added five assists and three steals.

Up next, UConn will return home to Connecticut to face Boston University on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at the XL Center. The Huskies and the Terriers will tip off at 7 p.m.


Tyler Keating is associate sports editor for The Daily Campus, covering football and men’s basketball. He can be reached via email at tyler.keating@uconn.edu. He tweets @tylerskeating.