It wasn't pretty, but the job was completed.
This afternoon in the Coliseo de Puerto Rico in San Juan, UConn improved to 2-0 on the season with a victory over the College of Charleston 65-57.
This was the first game in the Puerto Rico Tip Off for UConn and they lived up to their tournament prowess. Coming into the game, UConn had won 25 of their last 29 November tournament games.
As was the case in the season opener, senior captain Ryan Boatright set the tone for the Huskies. Boatright finished as the Huskies leader in points, rebounds, and assists, posting a line of 19, 6 and 5. Boatright was terrific throughout the game, taking control of the pace whenever UConn needed a play.
Today marked the UConn debut for junior Rodney Purvis. Purvis, a transfer student from North Carolina State, served a one game NCAA suspension, forcing him to miss the game against Bryant. After sitting out all of last season and the opener this year, Purvis came out of the gate with rust. He looked tentative and uncomfortable within the offense, finishing the first half with 3 points on 0-3 shooting from the field. But as the game went along, Kevin Ollie's "Ferrari in the garage" heated up. He knocked down two huge threes to bring the Huskies to an 11 point lead. He finished the game with 9 points. As Purvis acclimates to the offense, his impact will only get bigger.
Another of the Huskies newcomers, Daniel Hamilton, continues to show signs of becoming a star. Hamilton had a terrific game this afternoon. His line, 15 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists, only tells a piece of the story. It was his sense of the moment that impressed.
At the end of the first half, UConn was in the midst of a 2/20 nasty shooting slump. The College of Charleston were threatening to get back into the game, the score was 24-19 UConn with under a minute to play. Hamilton knocked down a three off a pick and pop with Boatright, then following two free throws from C.o.C. he sunk another three from the top of the arc. It was a reminder of just how talented this diaper dandy is.
The second half of the game turned into shooting practice for the Cougars. To start the half, C.o.C. was 11/14 from the field, including 4/4 from three. That shooting display kept them in the game, but UConn never let them within a 4 points of the lead. The Huskies got strong production from sophomore center Amidah Brimah. Brimah, who was able to stay out of foul trouble for most of the game, finished with 14 points and 4 rebounds. He displayed a soft scoring touch on the block, which would be a welcome addition to his game.
The victory over C.o.C. advances UConn to the semifinals of the Puerto Rico Tip Off. They will face off against Dayton, who advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament a year ago.