Rodney Purvis

No. 9 UConn rallies in second half to eliminate No. 8 Colorado

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No. 9 seed UConn had trouble with No. 8 seed Colorado in the first half of their South region matchup in Des Moines Thursday afternoon, trailing by as much as 11 as they failed to come up with an answer for senior forward Josh Scott. Scott scored 13 points in the first half, as he was able to operate in 1-on-1 situations within the Buffaloes’ offense. Add in a sluggish showing on the offensive end of the floor, and the Huskies had some major adjustments to make.

Kevin Ollie’s team managed to turn things around, keeping Scott scoreless over the first ten minutes of the second half as they took control of the contest. Despite struggling against the Colorado press late, UConn won 74-67 to advance to the second round where they’ll play No. 1 Kansas or No. 16 Austin Peay on Saturday.

UConn opened the second half on a 24-6 run and outscored Colorado 47-31 during the game’s final 20 minutes, and down the stretch their superior foul shooting made the difference. The top foul shooting team in the country, UConn made 22 of their 23 attempts on the day. By comparison Colorado shot 19-for-30 from the charity stripe, a big reason why the Buffaloes’ season has come to an end.

Rodney Purvis and Daniel Hamilton, both of whom got going in the second half, finished with 19 and 17 points respectively. UConn shot just 39.7 percent from the field for the game, but most of those issues came in the first half when they spent too much time watching one player attempt to crack Colorado’s pack line defense with dribble penetration.

There was better ball movement in the second half for UConn, and that resulted in better shots. Also key was their decision to send more double teams at Scott in the low post, essentially daring the Colorado guards to make the plays needed to put points on the board and they were unable to do so. UConn will have a much tougher task Saturday (if Kansas does what’s expected today) from a defensive standpoint, but this is a program that’s made a habit of going on runs in March.

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: No. 16 Iowa rolls, BYU wins at No. 25 Gonzaga

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Rider 102, Marist 100 (3OT)

Rider, pegged by some as a contender in the MAAC before the season began, picked up its first conference win of the season and they needed 15 extra minutes to do so. Teddy Okereafor led the way with 38 points and eight assists, with Zedric Saddler adding 21 points off the bench. Khalid Hart paced Marist with 36 points, and teammates Brian Parker added 28 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. Hart missed a free throw in the final seconds of the second overtime that would have tied the game at 101, with Okereafor splitting a pair on the other end to provide the final margin.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 16 Iowa 76, No. 4 Michigan State 59: Peter Jok scored 23 points and Jarrod Uthoff added 15 as the Hawkeyes rolled in East Lansing. Fran McCaffery’s team went from up one to leading by 22 at the half, outscoring Michigan State 35-14 over the final 16:07. After beating a Denzel Valentine-less Michigan State in the Big Ten opener for both, Iowa made a definitive statement that they’re a conference title contender.

No. 21 Louisville 59, No. 20 Pittsburgh 41: It wasn’t pretty offensively for either team, but the Cardinals were the better defensive team as they held the Panthers to a season low for points in a game. Pitt shot 28.6 percent from the field and committed 19 turnovers in a game that was a throwback to some old Big East battles. Chinanu Onuaku paced the Cardinals with 18 points, ten rebounds and three blocks.

BYU 69, No. 25 Gonzaga 68: Nate Austin’s block of a Kyle Wiltjer shot with just over a second remaining preserved the comeback victory for BYU, which has now won its last two games at Gonzaga. Wiltjer lead all scorers with 35 to go along with ten rebounds but Domantas Sabonis struggled with foul trouble and scored just five points, and given Gonzaga’s current makeup they can’t afford for the sophomore big man to have an off night. Kyle Collinsworth scored 20 points and Chase Fischer 18 for the Cougars, who are now 4-1 in WCC play.

STARRED

SIU-Edwardsville’s Burak Eslik: If not for Eslik SIUE would have had no shot of taking Morehead State to overtime. Eslik scored 40 points on 12-for-22 shooting from the field (7-for-11 3PT, 9-for-13 FT) and grabbed six rebounds in a 70-67 overtime loss.

Iowa’s Peter Jok: Jok scored 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field in the Hawkeyes’ win at Michigan State.

Rider’s Teddy Okereafor at the foul line: Okerafor scored 38 points and dished out eight assists in a double overtime win over Marist. He shot 25-for-30 from the foul line.

Louisville’s Chinanu Onuaku: 18 points, ten rebounds and three blocks as he outplayed Pittsburgh’s frontline in the 59-41 Louisville victory.

STRUGGLED

UConn’s Daniel Hamilton and Rodney Purvis: As Hamilton goes so go the Huskies, and Thursday night he struggled in a loss at Tulsa. Five points on 2-for-12 shooting from the field (1-for-7 3PT) for the sophomore, with Purvis even worse from the field (1-for-9) in scoring his five points.

Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis: Thanks to foul trouble he struggled, scoring five points on 2-for-6 shooting and grabbing six rebounds in a loss to BYU.

Pittsburgh’s James Robinson: The entire team struggled to be fair. But Robinson shot 0-for-6 from the field and committed three turnovers in the Panthers’ loss at Louisville.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 13 Arizona took control of its game against Washington in the second half, outscoring the Huskies by 29 points in what would eventually become a 99-67 victory. Ryan Anderson went for 21 points and nine rebounds and Kaleb Tarczewski added 16 points, 13 boards and one emphatic dunk.

OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS

  • FIU scored 52 first-half points in their 88-74 upset of Louisiana Tech in Miami. FIU shot 56.9 percent from the field, with Donte McGill scoring 29 points to lead the way.
  • LIU-Brooklyn picked up a one-point win at Wagner, beating the Seahawks 71-70. Aakim Saintil scored 27 points for the Blackbirds, who held on after Wagner missed the put-back of a Corey Henson missed free throw in the final seconds.
  • In a showdown of two Conference USA contenders, UAB won 72-71 at Old Dominion in overtime. William Lee scored 28 for the Blazers, who have now won 11 straight and ended ODU’s 32-game home winning streak.
  • Tulsa pulled away down the stretch in their 60-51 win over UConn. James Woodard scored 20 points and Shaquille Harrison 13 for the Golden Hurricane.
  • Winthrop handed High Point its first Big South loss of the season in impressive fashion, winning 86-66 at home. John Brown went for 25 and ten for the Panthers, but Winthrop managed to keep his teammates in check defensively.
  • Chattanooga moved to 15-3 on the season with a home win over Western Carolina. Justin Tuoyo led five Mocs in double figures with 20 points in the 77-58 victory.
  • Radford beat UNC Asheville 91-86 in overtime, with Cameron Jones and Rashun Davis combining to score 31 points for the Highlanders.
  • William & Mary held College of Charleston to 18 first-half points, hanging on to that halftime margin to win 63-61 in Charleston.
  • Valparaiso remained undefeated in Horizon League play with a 68-56 win over Milwaukee. Vashil Fernandez scored 14 points for the Crusaders, who dominated the boards and outscored the Panthers 20-0 in second chance points.
  • Arizona State picked up its first conference win of the season, beating Washington State 84-73. Three Sun Devils scored at least 15 points, with Tra Holder’s 20 leading the way.
  • In a matchup of two of the Summit League’s better teams, South Dakota State beat IPFW 92-76. George Marshall scored 28 for the Jackrabbits, who are now 14-4 on the season.
  • Little Rock (15-1) and UT-Arlington (13-2) both took care of business, as the Trojans blew out Appalachian State at home and UTA won by 27 at Troy.
  • The same can be said of Big Sky heavyweights Montana and Weber State, as both won on the road Thursday night. Montana won by seven at Northern Colorado, while the Wildcats were led to a 15-point win at Portland State by Joel Bolomboy (22 points, 13 rebounds) and Jeremy Senglin (21 points).
  • Oregon went to Salt Lake City and beat Utah 77-59, dropping the Runnin’ Utes to 1-3 in the Pac-12. Dillon Brooks scored 21 points and Casey Benson added 15 for the Ducks, who shot 54.9 percent from the field.
  • Hawai’i moved to 3-0 in Big West play with an 80-71 win at UC Riverside. Quincy Smith scored 17 points and grabbed five rebounds for the Rainbow Warriors.
  • UC Irvine erased an eight-point halftime deficit to win 58-54 at Long Beach State. Jaron Martin scored 11 second-half points to help spark the rally alongside fellow guards Luke Nelson and Alex Young.
  • Rosco Allen tallied 22 points and ten rebounds as Stanford beat California, 77-71. The difference was the foul line, as Cal shot 9-for-17 compared to Stanford’s 30-for-38.
  • With Gonzaga’s loss Saint Mary’s is in sole possession of first in the WCC, as they moved to 6-1 with a 78-62 win over Pacific. Jock Landale led the Gaels with 24 points and five rebounds, with Emmett Naar adding 21, five boards and six assists.

Hamilton leads UConn over Central Connecticut 99-52

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Daniel Hamilton posted the 11th triple double in UConn history as the Huskies rolled to a 99-52 victory over Central Connecticut State Wednesday afternoon at the XL Center.

The 6-foot-7 sophomore finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to become the 10th player in school history to accomplish the feat. Former UConn guard Shabazz Napier, who now plays for the Orlando Magic, is the lone Husky to do it twice.

Shonn Miller added a team-high 25 points to lead the Huskies (8-3), who head into the holiday break on a three-game win streak.

UConn was playing its second straight game without injured 7-foot center Amida Brimah.

Rodney Purvis added 16 points, Sterling Gibbs 12 and Kentan Facey 10. UConn shot over 60 percent from the field for the third straight time, finishing at 60.3 (38-for-63).

UConn played with a short bench minus Brimah (broken finger) and reserve guard Sam Cassell Jr. (sprained ankle). Brimah sat out Sunday’s win over UMass-Lowell with a testicular contusion, but returned to practice Monday where he broke his right middle finger. He was scheduled to have surgery Wednesday afternoon.

The Blue Devils (1-9) took advantage of Brimah, who ranks ninth in the nation with 3.0 blocks per game, being out in the first half. CCSU used a 15-6 run to pull within five, 30-25, with 4:46 to go in the first half.

UConn answered with a 16-1 run to close the half. Miller scored 14 points and the Huskies shot 58 percent from the field to grab a 46-26 lead. They also scored 15 points off 10 CCSU turnovers.

Miller stayed hot to open the second half and helped UConn pull away with an 18-8 opening run to lead 64-34 with 13:52 to play.

The fifth-year senior Miller sat the final 13:10 as UConn went to the bench.

Hamilton reached 10 assists and 10 rebounds early in the second half, but had only two points. He quickly caught up in the latter category before heading to the bench for the final 6:15.

The Blue Devils were led by 16 points from Austin Nehls.

The 47-point loss was the worst of the season for the Blue Devils, who are coached by former UConn assists Howie Dickenman.

TIP-INS:

Central Connecticut: The Blue Devils snapped an eight-game losing skid to open the season with a win over UMass-Lowell. … . The Blue Devils were just 4-for-17 from 3-point range.

UConn: The Huskies outscored CCSU 56-22 in the paint.

UP NEXT

CCSU is home against Yale on Wednesday.

UConn plays at Texas on Tuesday.

Purvis leads No. 25 UConn over UMass-Lowell 88-79

Associated Press
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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Rodney Purvis scored 28 points and No. 25 UConn beat UMass-Lowell 88-79 on Sunday.

The Huskies (7-3), who were playing without injured 7-foot center Amida Brimah, relied on their guards in the victory.

Daniel Hamilton had 12 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Sterling Gibbs scored 15 points and Omar Calhoun had 14.

The Huskies made 64 percent of their shots from the floor, while Lowell shot 50 percent.

Jahad Thomas led UMass-Lowell (4-7) with 19 points and Josh Gantz had 18. Matt Harris and Isaac White each scored 11.

The Huskies led by as many as 14 points in the second half, but had a tough time.

A 3-pointer by D.J. Mlachnik closed the gap to 81-75 with under 2 minutes left, but UConn hit seven of its eight foul shots down the stretch to hold off the River Hawks.

UConn has won consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 25. UMass-Lowell has lost five of its last six games.

The Huskies led by six points at halftime and just 62-55 before a 7-0 run led mostly by Purvis’ jumper and 3-pointer on consecutive possessions.

Brimah suffered a testicular contusion last week, and UConn clearly missed his defensive presence early on. The River Hawks’ Matt Harris hit two early 3-pointers, and the team used a 7-0 run to take a 20-13 lead and force UConn coach Kevin Ollie to take a timeout.

The Huskies went to a full-court press and took the lead back 26-25 when Hamilton found Phil Nolan under the basket for a layup.

UConn hit 67 percent of its shots in the first half yet had a 43-37 lead at halftime.

A 3-pointer from Purvis gave UConn its first double-digit lead at 51-41 early in the second half, but Ryan Jones responded with a 3-pointer for the River Hawks.

UConn outrebounded UMass-Lowell 30-18. The River Hawks have only three players taller than 6-foot-4 and none taller than 6-foot-8.

UMass-Lowell, which started the season 3-2, has lost five of its six games in December. The lone win came Dec. 6 over a Boston College team that was depleted by food poisoning. Lowell has eight first-year players on its roster.

TIP INS

UMass-Lowell: The River Hawks have lost two straight road games to teams from Connecticut, including an 83-79 loss Friday to Central Connecticut – UConn’s next opponent.

UConn: Brimah had played in a team-high 84 consecutive games dating back to his freshman season and had started 44 straight. The team says his injury is not serious and his absence was precautionary. Daniel Hamilton leads the team in consecutive games with 45.

UP NEXT

UMass-Lowell: The River Hawks, who had seven of eight road games this month, will head to Piscataway, New Jersey, to face Rutgers on Dec. 28.

UConn: The Huskies host Central Connecticut on Wednesday before taking on the Texas Longhorns on Dec. 29 in Austin, Texas.

SUNDAY’S SNACKS: Monmouth picks off another high-major opponent

Associated Press
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GAME OF THE DAY: Monmouth 73, Rutgers 67

The Hawks picked up their fifth win of the season over an opponent from a high-major conference, and unlike the previous four King Rice’s team was expected to beat the Scarlet Knights. Justin Robinson led three Hawks in double figures with 14 points, and thanks to their defense Monmouth won despite shooting 4-for-18 from three. Monmouth (now 1-17 against Big Ten programs) limited Rutgers, which came into the game as a 10.5-point underdog, to 30.8 percent shooting from the field.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

Pittsburgh 94, Davidson 69: It was the 9-1 Panthers who showed off some offensive firepower in Brooklyn, with Michael Young leading the way with 24 points while also grabbing six rebounds. Jamie Dixon’s team shot 54.5 percent from the field while limiting the Wildcats to 34.8 percent shooting. Bob McKillop’s team also shot 6-for-30 from three on the day as they fell to 7-2 on the season.

No. 25 UConn 88, UMass-Lowell 79: Rodney Purvis scored a season-high 28 points to lead the Huskies to the win in a game that was closer than many anticipated it being. UConn shot 64 percent from the field as a team, and five players scored in double figures. Jahad Thomas led the way for the River Hawks, who beat Boston College earlier this month, with 19 points, five rebounds and seven assists.

Samford 69, Nebraska 58: Scott Padgett’s Bulldogs picked up the program’s first-ever win over a Big Ten opponent Sunday night, with Christen Cunningham leading three Bulldogs in double figures with 20 points. Samford was able to keep Nebraska off balance offensively through the use of full-court pressure and a matchup zone, and this had a major impact on the Huskers’ supporting cast. Shavon Shields scored 25 points (10-for-14 FG) and Andrew White III added 17 and 11 boards, but their efforts weren’t enough to keep Nebraska from losing as their teammates combined to shoot 4-for-20 from the field.

STARRED

Damon Lynn, NJIT: Lynn led the Highlanders to their first-ever win over a Big East program, scoring 32 points while also accounting for six rebounds and three assists in an 83-74 win at St. John’s.

Devin Martin, Maryland-Eastern Shore: Martin scored a career-high 34 points to lead the Hawks to a 79-64 win at American. Martin also had four steals in the win.

James Webb III, Boise State: Webb accounted for 31 points, eight rebounds and four steals in the Broncos’ 90-79 home win over Bradley.

STRUGGLED

Juan’ya Green, Hofstra: Green had a tough afternoon in the Pride’s 71-68 loss at Stony Brook, scoring five points on 1-for-8 shooting. Struggling with foul trouble, Green also committed four turnovers.

Brian Sullivan, Davidson: Sullivan shot just 2-for-13 from the field (2-for-10 from three) in the Wildcats’ 25-point loss to Pittsburgh in Brooklyn.

Nebraska: The Huskers have a lot of new pieces this season, and they struggled in a loss to Samford Sunday night. Remove Shavon Shields and Andrew White III from the equation, and Nebraska’s other players combined to shoot 4-for-20 from the field.

OTHER NOTABLE SCORES

  • Jameel Warney scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds as Stony Brook held off Hofstra 71-68. Dealing with foul trouble throughout, Hofstra’s Juan’ya Green scored just five points.
  • Little Rock moved to 10-0 on the season with an 84-57 win over Northern Arizona. Little Rock reserves scored a total of 58 points, with Marcus Johnson Jr. accounting for 15 of them.
  • James Madison moved to 9-3 with a 67-61 win over East Carolina, with Ron Curry scoring 23 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
  • Jaylen Shaw’s three-pointer with four seconds remaining gave Coastal Carolina a 68-56 win over Alabama State.
  • Egidijus Mockevicius tallied 23 points and 13 rebounds to lead Evansville to an 85-77 win at Fresno State. Mockevicius also blocked three shots for the Purple Aces.
  • Shane Richards scored 28 points, making seven three-pointers, and Rich Williams added 23 and ten rebounds as Manhattan won 78-66 at Morgan State.