The UConn men’s basketball team delivered another sloppy offensive performance in a season full of them Wednesday night in a 70-61 road loss to conference rival UCF.
Terry Larrier led the Huskies (11-11, 4-5 The American) with 15 points on 6-for-16 shooting in his return from injury, while Antwoine Anderson added 10. B.J. Taylor led UCF (14-7, 5-4 The American) with 18 points.
The Huskies got off to a truly horrendous offensive start, scoring just one field goal in the game’s first nine minutes and 53 seconds.
That one field goal came from Larrier, who wore a face mask in his return from facial surgery. Larrier banked in a 3-pointer from the right wing to get the Huskies started.
UCF was equally poor in the opening minutes, but the Knights put a couple of buckets together to jump out to an 11-3 lead, which extended to 16-7 on a 3-pointer from Dayon Griffin with 8:14 remaining in the opening half.
Eventually, UConn found its stroke, somewhat, as Adams, Larrier and Anderson helped put together a 15-7 burst to pull back within one point.
A tip shot from Terrell Allen at the halftime buzzer gave UCF a 31-29 lead at the break.
The two teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of the second half, with Isaiah Whaley scoring some points for UConn. UCF went up nine points with a 3-pointer from B.J. Taylor, but the Huskies got the next three baskets to keep the game from getting out of hand.
UCF steadied offensively, and led by two or three possessions for much of the half, but seven straight points (capped by a Christian Vital and-one) tied the game at 50 apiece with 6:25 left.
That was as close as the Huskies would get. The Knights scored the next five points to take back control, and held on for the final minutes, thanks to a huge lay-up from Taylor after Josh Carlton cut the lead to two points with 2:36 remaining.
UCF iced the game at the free throw line to hand UConn their second straight loss.
UConn returns to action on Feb. 3 when it faces No. 8 Cincinnati at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs. The Bearcats have won 13 straight games, and a loss for the Huskies will put them under .500.