Men's Basketball: Defense shines in win over Central Florida

Connecticut's Amida Brimah watches his shot go up during an NCAA college basketball game against Central Florida, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016 at the CFE Arena in Orlando, Fla. (Jacob Langston/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

UConn head coach Kevin Ollie has praised the UConn defense over the past few games. The offense hasn’t been playing great, but the defense has been consistent. The Husky defense on Sunday was perhaps the best it has been all season long.

UConn held UCF to just 41 points, and the Huskies had six players score seven points or more. They bounced back from a one-point loss with a 67-41 win on Sunday afternoon.

UCF’s 41 points were a season-low for a UConn opponent and also a season low for the Knights offensively.

The UConn (15-6, 5-3 the American) defense had 12 steals, forced 15 turnovers and held the Black Knights to 23.5 percent shooting (12 of 51). The Huskies shot 45.6 percent (26 of 57). 

UConn started the game one of four from the field and UCF was one of six. But then UConn took off. The Huskies separated themselves from the Knights with a 17-0 run over the next six minutes to take a 19-4 lead.

Rodney Purvis was a key player in that stretch for UConn off the bench. He scored nine points in the first half.

A.J. Davis made a three to stop the UConn run and make it 19-7.

Amida Brimah checked into the game early in the first half, making his first appearance since Dec. 12 against Ohio State. Brimah had surgery on Dec. 24 to fix a broken finger and has been out ever since.

Despite having 7-foot-6-inch Tacko Fall and 6-foot-10-inch Justin McBride inside, the Huskies held a 20-8 advantage in the paint at halftime.

The Huskies shot 50 percent (14 of 18) in the first half and UCF shot 24 percent (7 of 29).

UConn led 38-20 at halftime. UCF’s 20 points at was a season low.

The Huskies opened the second half by making just four of its first 13 shots, but still held a 21-point lead with 11:15 left. The Knights wouldn’t get closer than 16 points the entire second half.

UConn had a nice variety of scoring on Sunday. Shonn Miller led the Huskies with 11 points, eight rebounds and five steals.

Jalen Adams scored 10 points. Daniel Hamilton, Purvis and Sterling Gibbs all scored nine points. Omar Calhoun scored seven and Brimah and Sam Cassell Jr. scored six.

Matt Williams led UCF with 10 points off the bench. No other player scored over seven points for the Black Knights.

UConn won the rebounding battle 41-33.

The 27-point win was the biggest win for UConn on the road in a conference games since 2006 when they beat Seton Hall 99-57. 


Matt Zampini is the sports editor for The Daily Campus, covering men's basketball. He can be reached via email at matthew.zampini@uconn.edu. He tweets@Mattt_Zamp.