FIRST HALF RECAP: Tulsa up on UConn, 23-19
You don't ever want to have a scoring drought last 7 minutes and 51 seconds, but especially not to start a game. Unfortunately that was the case for UConn today as a Ryan Boatright 3-pointer with 12:09 left in the first half gave the Huskies their first points of the game.
Kevin Ollie's squad has been absolutely punished on the boards, with Tulsa enjoying a 25-10 advantage, including 11 offensive rebounds for the Golden Hurricane leading to 10 second-chance points. To make matters worse the Huskies have missed all three of their free throw attempts.
And yet somehow we're only down 4.
Luckily Tulsa only managed 7 points during UConn's scoreless start, and the Huskies were quickly able to make it 7-5 so we could all resume breathing regularly. It was neck and neck through the rest of the half, with UConn even taking a lead at the 8:17 mark.
Besides rebounding, UConn's biggest problem right now is a failure to execute offensively, often waiting until the final seconds to try and put something together. The Huskies are passing up open shots but have been able to stay in this game mostly due to poor shooting from Tulsa, who are at 30% from the field at the half.
All things considered, a 4-point deficit going into the half ain't bad. Boatright is leading the team with 9 points, while Omar Calhoun and Rodney Purvis each have 4. We'll need a more complete effort from the Huskies in the second half, hopefully the Huskies can find some offensive juice in the second half and get the win they need.
Hartford-- Less than 18 hours after Ryan Boatright's game winning three, the UConn Huskies return to XL Center. A trip to the championship game is on the line. Only Tulsa stands in the way.
Last night, Boatright found an inch of space to let a three pointer fly to break Cincinnati's heart. In a hard-fought defensive contest, the Huskies did just enough to squeak by. They got strong production out of their starting backcourt of Boatright and Purvis. The two combined for 35 points. All season long, UConn has yearned for a consistent second scorer. If Purvis can step up again today, look out.
In their quarterfinal game, Tulsa knocked off Houston, 59-51. Shaq Harrison took control, putting in 14 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Coached by Frank Haith, the Golden Hurricane finished 14-4 within the conference to clinch the 2nd seed in the tournament.
The two sides split the season series, with the home team winning both games. In February, Tulsa came up to the XL Center and got their doors blow off, 70-45. In that game, Boatright and Purvis combined for 40 points. Like I said, if those two can combine for another big night, the Huskies can get the job done.
This is UConn's house. Let's see if they can protect it today. Season is on the line.
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