When the UConn men’s basketball team beat Oregon in the first round of the PK80 Tournament in Portland, it seemed like the Huskies had finally began to find their rhythm. But an embarrassing 102-67 loss to Arkansas in the Third Place game left the team in a worse place than when they arrived.
UConn ended the Phil Knight Invitational with a 1-2 record. After their best game of the year on Thanksgiving night, the Huskies crumbled in the second half against Michigan State on Friday and didn’t even look like they came out to play against Arkansas on Sunday night.
Poor shot selection, stagnant offense, weak defense and lack of cohesion all plagued UConn against the Razorbacks, allowing triple digits in a non-overtime game for the first time since giving up 101 to Iowa on Nov. 24, 1995.
Jalen Adams finished the game as UConn’s top scorer with 25 points, but he went 10-for-21 from the field and 4-for-10 from 3-point range. Terry Larrier was second with 18 points, going 7-for-14 from the field and 2-for-4 from beyond the arc. Alterique Gilbert, who scored 26 combined points against Oregon and Michigan State, was held to a single point against Arkansas in 17 minutes of play.
Arkansas? They went 11-for-19 as a team from beyond the arc. UConn went 7-for-26. Jaylen Bradford led the Razorbacks with 24 points on 9-for-12 shooting from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc.
UConn started the game by going 1-for-7 from the floor and quickly found themselves down 9-1 through four minutes of play. Arkansas shot sharp and ballooned their lead to 29-11 halfway through the first half and didn’t let their lead get below 12 for the remainder of the half.
When the second half began, UConn was down by 14 and scored four quick points to cut a once 20-point deficit to 10. The Razorbacks responded promptly and ruthlessly, going on a 19-0 run to squash any hopes of a UConn comeback.
The Huskies, however, were never poised for one. For the second straight game, their defense crumbled in the second half and their offense deteriorated into taking contested 3-pointers and rushed mid-range jumpers.
There was almost no ball movement and even less energy on behalf of UConn—they allowed Arkansas to take 33 shots from the charity stripe while the Huskies went a poor 14-for-22 from the free throw line. Arkansas ended the game shooting 60 percent from the floor while UConn shot just 37.7 percent.
UConn will have two chances to get their game back on track when they take on Colombia at Gampel Pavilion on Wednesday and Monmouth at the XL Center on Dec. 2 before the highly anticipated game against Syracuse on Dec. 5 at Madison Square Garden.
Stephanie Sheehan is the managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She tweets @steph_sheehan.