The UConn men’s basketball team bounced back from a tough loss to Tulsa with an 84-80 win Sunday afternoon over American Athletic Conference foe East Carolina at Minges Coliseum.
Jalen Adams posted a gaudy statline (26 points, six assists and five rebounds) on 10-for-18 shooting to lead the Huskies (13-14, 6-8 The American), whose offensive performance more closely resembled their explosive first half against Tulsa rather than the ugly second half.
Terry Larrier lagged close behind with 20 points, while Christian Vital and Tyler Polley added 16 and 11, respectively. Shawn Williams (26 points, 7-for-13 from 3-point range) paced the Pirates (10-15, 4-10 The American), who blew a nine-point lead at home.
The two teams combined to shoot a healthy 51 percent from behind the arc (26-for-51) in a fast-paced game, with UConn prevailing for their second true road win on 56 percent shooting from the field.
The Pirates knocked down their first seven shots of the game, but UConn stayed close with hot 3-point shooting, tying the game at 20 apiece 6:24 into the half. The Huskies then took control with another flurry from the perimeter, going up 40-31 with 2:55 left in the half.
At that moment, UConn was 9-for-13 from deep, but they wouldn’t make another 3-point shot in the half, or from any place on the floor, from that matter. The Pirates scored the game’s next 11 points to close the half, bringing a two-point advantage into the break.
East Carolina came out of the break hot, and within six minutes had built a 57-48 edge after a layup from B.J. Tyson, who finished with 20 points. Then UConn quickly lurched to life, striking back with an 8-0 spurt fueled by strong defense to pull within one possession.
A pair of baskets from Vital gave the Huskies a 63-60 edge with 9:28 left, which they gradually added to as the game winded closer to the final bucket. UConn was sitting pretty with an 82-74 lead and 41 seconds left on the clock after an Antwoine Anderson jumper.
The Pirates had one more burst left in them from Wiliams, who hit a trio of free throws and a 3-pointer to pull within two points with 14 seconds left. However, Adams iced the game at the free throw line and UConn got one more stop to escape with the win.
The Huskies finished with 18 assists on 32 field goals, although they lost the rebounding battle 32-24. Polley, a freshman forward who has seen fluctuating playing time this season, followed up a nice shooting night against Tulsa by going 3-for-3 from deep against East Carolina.
UConn returns to action Thursday when they travel to take on rival Cincinnati.