Thursday night was a dominant defensive performance from UConn. And the offense wasn’t bad, either.
UConn held South Florida to 28 percent shooting – including just four field goals at half time – and the Huskies ran away from the Bulls with a 81-51 victory.
The Huskies had four players score in double figures. Rodney Purvis led all scorers with 18 points (4 of 8 from three). Shonn Miller had 16 points and seven rebounds. Jalen Adams, who was inserted into the starting lineup scored 12 points, six rebounds and six assists. Amida Brimah had 10.
Jaleel Cousins led South Carolina in scoring with 11 points. Jahmal McMurray and Nehemias Morillo each scored 10 points.
The win notched UConn’s 20th win of the season, marking the fourth straight year the Huskies have had 20 wins under head coach Kevin Ollie.
South Florida (7-22, 4-13 the American) took the lead early in the game. Morillo made his first two three-pointers to give the Bulls an early 6-4 lead.
But after those two baskets by Morillo, USF disappeared. The Bulls didn’t score another basket for eight minutes and 13 seconds. During that time, UConn (20-8, 10-5 the American) went on an 8-0 run to take a 12-6 lead before McMurray hit a deep three to end the drought.
Ten of UConn’s first 12 points came from inside the paint. Freshman Steve Enoch came off the bench and scored four points, Brimah had six points in the first half, all on dunks (two alley-oops from Daniel Hamilton)
UConn’s defense played outstanding in the first half. The Bulls offense took some questionable jump shots, but the Huskies were tenacious on defense.
USF shot 4 of 26 from the field. They didn’t make their first two-point basket until 33 seconds left in the half when McMurray scored in the lane.
Only McMurray (seven points) and Morillo (six points) scored for the Bulls in the first half. The 13 points in the first half were the lowest USF has scored in a half since 2005 when they scored 12 against St. Louis.
Miller scored the first six points of the first half for the Huskies as UConn opened the half on a 13-3 run to take a 41-16 lead, which caused USF to call a timeout.
Purvis started to heat up in the second half. After only scoring four points in the first half, he made four threes in a row at one point in the second half. His last three put the Huskies up 59-33 with 10:24 left.
UConn seemingly couldn’t miss in the second half. The Huskies made seven shots in a row to take a 61-37 lead.
The Huskies shot 69 percent in the second half and scored 53 points. UConn won the rebounding battle (37-27), bench points (30-13), fast break points (12-2) and points in the paint (42-20).