The UConn Huskies put on a complete team performance to win their first game in the Bahamas at the Battle 4 Atlantis Wednesday night, defeating Michigan 74-60.
The Huskies (4-0) grab their first impressive win of the season, and should see a solid rise in the rankings next time around, as long as they don't fall off during the final two games of the week.
While UConn enjoyed solid contributions from the bench—most notably Sam Cassell and his 11 points—it was Daniel Hamilton, Rodney Purvis and Sterling Gibbs who kept the Huskies humming all night.
As he has every time out, Hamilton flirted with a triple-double, doing a little bit of everything for UConn as he compiled 16 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Three other Husky starters were in double-figures, and Cassell hit the mark off the bench, going 3-for-4 from 3-point range.
Kevin Ollie's squad played aggressive defense, ran the floor well, and had a great shooting night, shooting 50 percent from the field and hitting 8 of 20 three-pointers (40 percent) in the convincing win.
It was looking like this might be a competitive game early on, with Michigan (2-2) up 15-14 toward the middle of the first half, until the Wolverines' leading scorer Caris LeVert committed his second foul. Sticking to his long-held belief, a belief shared by Jim Calhoun in his day, Michigan head coach John Beilein sat LeVert for the remainder of the half and continued to do so for the remainder of the half, even as it proved to be a deadly decision.
The Huskies mounted a 22-7 run to end the half, taking a 36-22 lead into the break. In the second half, they got a little complacent offensively and let Michigan back in the game a bit, but ultimately the game was never really in question across the final 20 minutes.
The win gives UConn a nice boost to its resumé, and allows the Huskies to revive a rivalry which died with the Big East conference in 2013. The Huskies will advance to face Syracuse tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. with the winner making the tournament final. The Orange beat Charlotte earlier today, 83-70.
The other semifinal between Gonzaga and Texas A&M will be played tomorrow at 1 p.m. on ESPN, as well.