Men's Basketball: Strong defense, Hamilton lead UConn over Memphis

University of Memphis forward Shaq Goodwin, left, takes a shot to the face while driving around Connecticut University center Amida Brimah during first half action at the FedExForum Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. (Mark Weber/The Commercial Appeal via AP)

Thursday was certainly a tale of two halves for UConn and Memphis.

The Huskies have relied on its defense over the past few weeks for them to win games. Coach Kevin Ollie has said “we hang our hats on our defense” in the past and Thursday night was no different, especially in the second half.

UConn outscored Memphis 41-20 and forced 13 turnovers in the second half as the Huskies defeated Memphis 77-57 to pick up a quality win on the road.

Graduate student Shonn Miller was a big part of UConn’s success in the second half, scoring 12 points, including eight of the team’s first 10 points of the half to regain the lead. UConn was tenacious on defense in the second half, causing turnovers and cashing in on them.

UConn (16-7, 6-3 the American) forced 20 turnovers, 13 of which came in the second half and scored 16 points off those.

Memphis lead UConn 37-36 at half time. The Tigers shot 48 percent and got nine points from both Jeremiah Martin and Ricky Tarrant Jr. to have a lead a the break.

The Tigers took advantage of some early UConn turnovers, going on a 10-2 run to take an early 15-9 lead.

Daniel Hamilton, who had been struggling with his shot of late, had an vintage game that Ollie is used to seeing from his best player. Hamilton scored 12 points (5 of 8 shooting) in the first half to keep the Huskies in the game. No other UConn player scored more than five points.

Miller, Amida Brimah and Kentan Facey had a combined five fouls in the first half, making way for freshman Steve Enoch to come off the bench in the first half to score four points and grab two rebounds.

The Tigers scored 12 points off six UConn turnovers. Both teams had 18 points in the paint.

Miller scored the first four points of the second half for the Huskies. The Huskies opened the second half on a 10-2 run to take a 46-39 lead. Miller scored eight of those points.

UConn’s lead continually blossomed over the half. The Huskies led 59-46 with 10:12 left after two fast break points from Rodney Purvis and Hamilton, part of a 7-0 UConn run.

The Huskies went up by 15 points with 6:44 left and never looked back. UConn finished the game on a 8-0 run.

Hamilton finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Purvis scored 15 and Miller had 14 and four rebounds.

Memphis (13-9, 4-5 the American) only attempted four field goals in the second half (4 of 16) but they made 11 free throws. Tarrant Jr. led the Tigers with 16 points. Martin had 11.

Shaq Goodwin, who dominated UConn in the first meeting, only scored eight points.

Thursday was the first game all season that Memphis lost when leading at half time.


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