In a clash of former Big East rivals, UConn takes on West Virginia in the championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off.
UConn enters today after beating the College of Charleston on Thursday then Dayton on Friday. West Virginia took care of business, defeating George Mason and Boston College.
In their last meeting, UConn beat West Va in the second round of the 2012 Big East Tournament. The all-time series record sits at 16-5, in UConn's advantage.
The Huskies have gotten strong production from their senior captain, Ryan Boatright. He's averaging 19.5 ppg, 4.5 apg, and 5.5 rpg in the tournament. His play has set the tone for UCon's come from behind wins in both contests.
Against Dayton, UConn saw transfer Rodney Purvis introduce himself to the world. Purvis scored 19 points and played with an aggressiveness that was sorely needed.
For the championship game, Omar Calhoun, Rakim Lubin, Dan Guest and Marcel Lewis will serve a one game suspension for violating team rules. Calhoun has been out for all three of UConn's games this season due to a right knee injury. Lubin, a freshman, has played sparingly in each of the contests.
With a victory tonight, UConn will win a November tournament for the second straight year. They won the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden. It will be their third November title in the last five seasons, after defeating Kentucky in 2010 at the Maui Invitational. Winning these November tournaments looks to a sign of future success. Both times UConn won in November, they went on to win the NCAA Championship.
UConn will take on West Virginia at 6:30 pm. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2. Follow our coverage on Twitter @theuconnblog and @ElanDeCarlo. Check back here at halftime for an update, and back after the game ends.
What a disaster. That was by far UConn's worst half of basketball this season. West Virginia leads 47-32 after a sloppy, uneven 20 minutes.
UConn has struggled in all facets of the game. They've turned the ball over 11 times, including 6 from freshman Daniel Hamilton. Hamilton started the game on a roll, knocking down his first 3 shots, but the full court pressure from the Mountaineers has really bothered him. The Huskies are just 2-7 from the foul line and are shooting just 44% from the field.
Defensively, UConn's been exposed. West Virginia is hitting on 53% from the field, including 3 three pointers. The real problem has been on the offensive glass. The Mountaineers have grabbed 9 offensive boards and converted them into 14 second chance points. That's almost the difference in the game. UConn's Amida Brimah has been beat up in this game. TWest Virginia's guards, Jaysean Paige and Juwen State, have been able to sucker Brimah into challenging shots and then dishing it out to open cutters for easy layups. Brimah's overaggressiveness had cost the Huskies dearly.
This is not the effort that was expected by the Huskies. They've been run off the floor by a physical and pressing Mountaineers team. If UConn wants to get back in this game, they need to bring more energy to the floor and harness it into disciplined play. Senior Ryan Boatright needs to maintain his composure to lead his team.