Well that was a really weird game. UConn held a 37-32 lead at the half which was honestly pretty shocking to me. The Huskies didn't really play with a whole lot of energy, but thanks to Ryan Boatright, they still had a halftime lead and led for some of the second half.
Temple then really started to defend, doubling Boatright on every pick and roll in the second half, forcing the basketball out of his hands and making it extremely difficult to make any plays. In his last regular season game in a Husky uniform, Boat led all scorers with 25 points on 8-12 shooting, going 4-7 from behind the arc.
Rodney Purvis helped out all he could, scoring 18 points on 6-11 shooting and 2-5 from three. He took a hard fall on his wrist in the second half, but seemed to be fine, coming back in shortly after. While Purvis was that much needed second scorer, UConn got close to nothing from Daniel Hamilton. The freshman struggled mightily, scoring only 7 points on 1-12 shooting. Omar Calhoun added 4 points off the bench on 2-4 shooting, but committed 3 turnovers. Terrance Samuel also scored 4 points, but also committed 3 turnovers.
As for UConn's frontcourt, it was less than stellar. Amida Brimah only took 1 field goal and finished with 3 points, but he did have 5 blocks. Kentan Facey scored 0 points and only had 1 rebound while committing 4 fouls. Phil Nolan, though, turned in another nice performance, finishing with 2 points and 2 rebounds, both offensive. He also hit a midrange jumper for the third straight game.
As for the Owls, they were led by a trio of guards in Will Cummings, Jesse Morgan, and Quenton DeCosey. Cummings finished with 23 points and 5 assists while Morgan scored 17 points on 6-11 shooting, going 5-7 from three. DeCosey poured in 15 points off the bench, going 6-8 from the line. Jaylen Bond did a ton of the little things for Temple's frontcourt and finished with 7 points and 5 rebounds.
To put it bluntly, the second half sucked. But, to be honest, I don't think UConn wanted to play this game at all. Coming off an emotional loss on Senior Night, they knew that the only way they could make the NCAA Tournament was by winning the AAC Tournament, so in a sense, what was the point of this game against Temple?
Yes, now the Huskies are the 6 seed and they don't have a first round bye which is unfortunate, but it should not be that big of a deal. Hopefully, the game against USF/Houston gives UConn much needed confidence heading into the next round. If they lose, well then obviously they don't deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament, but there is hope.
UConn has already beaten SMU, Tulsa, and Cincinnati at the XL Center and would have beaten Temple there too if Boatright wasn't hurt. Hartford has been really really good to the Huskies this season and I expect it to continue next week.
The season's not over yet!