Men’s Basketball: UConn looks to sweep Memphis

Guard Rodney Purvis soars in for a dunk during UConn's 81-78 win over Memphis at Gampel Pavilion on Jan. 9, 2016. The Huskies will take on the Tigers on Thursday. (Ashley Maher/The Daily Campus)

Coming off a 26-point victory over UCF, the UConn men's basketball team looks to stay rolling when it travels to FedExForum on Thursday, Feb. 4 to take on Memphis.

UConn (15-6, 5-3 The American) dominated the Knights on Sunday afternoon, 67-41.

Graduate forward Shonn Miller continued his consistent play, leading the team with 11 points and eight rebounds. The big surprise was the return of junior center Amida Brimah after missing 11 games with a finger injury. Brimah finished with six points and two blocks. His presence in the lineup should help stabilize an offense that struggled without him. He played 18 minutes against the Knights, so look for that number to rise as he gets reintegrated into the lineup.

Defensively, UConn held UCF to a season-best 23.5 percent shooting, including just 22.7 percent over the final 20 minutes. The Huskies have thrived defensively all season. Getting Brimah back will only help the team. UConn has held teams under 40 percent shooting 16 times this season. They are ranked second in the nation in opposing shooting percentage (36.7 percent).

Memphis (13-8, 4-4) dropped an 80-68 contest at SMU on Saturday. Forwards Shaq Goodwin (15.1 ppg) and Dedric Lawson (4.4 ppg) lead the Tigers in scoring.  Lawson paces them in rebounds (9.0 per game), while guard Ricky Tarrant Jr. leads in assists (3.6 per game).

UConn has already defeated the Tigers once this year, in Storrs when the Huskies held on for an 81-78 victory in front of over 9,400 fans at Gampel Pavilion.

The key in that game was Goodwin getting in foul trouble early in the game. Goodwin picked up two quick fouls early in the first half, limiting his time on the floor. When he did play, however, he gave the Huskies everything they could handle. He finished with 23 points in 22 minutes. If he hadn’t fouled out late in the second half, the game could have gone a different way.

Connecticut owns a 4-1 record on the road in 2015-16 and is 15-12 (.556) in true road games over the last two seasons.

With only 10 games remaining in the regular season, it is crunch time for the Huskies. They are short on marquee wins and long in heartbreaking defeats. Chances like this, big wins on the road in conference, are at a premium. Head coach Kevin Ollie and the squad need to take every opportunity they have as a chance to send a message.

Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. on Thursday. 


Elan-Paolo DeCarlo is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering men's basketball. He can be reached via email at elan-paolo.decarlo@uconn.edu. He tweets @ElanDeCarlo.