UConn wins 81-73
Well folks, this was the marquee victory you've been waiting for. SMU entered this afternoon in first place in the American, ranked #21 in the polls and were undefeated in 3 games against UConn. And to that, the Huskies responded with their best performance of the season. Getting major production out of Ryan Boatright, Rodney Purvis and Daniel Hamilton, the Huskies secured a much needed victory heading into the stretch run of the season.
Purvis led the way with 28 points. From the first shot of the game, the "Ferrari" was in 6th gear. His dunk in the second half may have burned UConn Twitter to the ground and melted the face of anyone who saw it happen. What was even more impressive was that he went 7-7 from the foul line, hitting clutch ones down the stretch to put this game away.
Each game that passes, I urge UConn fans to recognize the greatness of Ryan Boatright. He finished with 23 points and 5 assists. Beyond the numbers, he's the heart of this team. His ego, energy and emotion push this Husky team, good or bad. Appreciate this future Husky of Honor while you can.
Ok, I'm heading into press conferences now, I'll have a more updated game story in a bit. What a game from UConn.
UConn leads 32-26
This afternoon, the Huskies have played with the urgency and energy of a team that sees the end approaching, yet is doing everything it can to delay it. A monster 12 point half from Rodney Purvis paced UConn to a six point lead. The good news; this is the ninth time this year UConn has led at the half. The better news; they are 8-0 in those games. If the pattern holds, the Huskies are on their way to a major victory over SMU.
This has been a tremendous basketball game by both sides. The Huskies are playing with a level of aggressiveness they've lacked at times in first halves this year. It started with Purvis. He hit the first three he took, always a good sign. He went on to sink another three and started attacking the basket with ferocity. His game helped stabilize this team.
Ryan Boatright added 7 points of his own and he submitted a dominant defensive performance on SMU's Nic Moore. He held Moore to just 2 points on 1-6 shooting. The Mustangs were led by center Yanick Moreira with 12 points. In the second half, Brimah and Phil Nolan will need to do a better job of getting Moreira off his spot in the block.
With 20 minutes to play, the Huskies are on the verge of getting a major resume boosting victory. With a rocking XL Center crowd behind them, they are in a great position of getting it done.
The American Athletic Conference has been a happy hunting ground for UConn over the last two seasons. They sport a 21-12 overall record within conference play. Yet over the last two seasons, Southern Methodist has owned the Huskies. Under Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown, SMU has defeated UConn in all three games they've played. This afternoon at the XL Center, the Huskies look for revenge.
Their last time out, UConn staged a second half comeback at East Carolina to improve to 16-11 (9-6 AAC) on the season. The Huskies have won their last two contests. With the regular season coming to an end, the Huskies are setting themselves up for a major showing in the AAC Tournament in Hartford in a few weeks.
Look for Amida Brimah to continue his strong play. Against ECU in just 18 mins of action, Brimah controlled the flow of the game in the paint. He swatted 6 shots and effected countless others. His presence inside will be instrumental if UConn wants to get the upset today.
This game will have major ramifications on the postseason hopes of UConn. If they can get the victory, it will go a long way in the minds of the selection committee. A loss would cement UConn's fate as a team that will not get a bid to the dance.
These are the elite programs in the AAC. Brown and Kevin Ollie have a long standing respect and admiration. Ryan Boatright and Nic Moore are the favorites for conference player of the year. This has all the makings of a monster clash. Let's see what the Huskies are made of.
Follow me on Twitter for on court updates @ElanDeCarlo. Check back here at TheUConnBlog.com for more coverage at halftime and post game.