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Final Score: UConn Men’s Basketball Clips the Ospreys, 80-59

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The Huskies played a solid all-around game in a comfortable win, just what the doctor ordered.

Ian Bethune

UConn Men’s Basketball went to its big men early and often with great success on its way to an 80-59 win over North Florida at Gampel Pavilion.

Kentan Facey had his best game in a Husky uniform, with a career-high 20 points along with nine rebounds and four blocks. The senior forward has been assertive on the glass and offensively since the Huskies’ return from Maui, averaging 10.25 points and 8.5 rebounds over the past four games.

Facey’s frontcourt mate, Amida Brimah, posted a solid performance as well, finishing with 11 points, six rebounds, and four blocks. The Huskies also got seven points and seven rebounds from sophomore Steve Enoch. Early in the game, UConn was getting the ball to the bigs, who did a great job finishing down low. The home team led at the half, 41-36, with solid, balanced play on both sides of the floor.

North Florida was able to keep it close in large part thanks to the three-point shooting of Dallas Moore, who finished with 18 points, as the Ospreys shot 8-of-17 from long range in the first half. That efficiency waned in the second half and the Huskies were able to open up a double-digit lead.

North Florida fought back, pulling to within five, but Rodney Purvis put UConn ahead for good with 11 points in four minutes. He started with a three-point play at the 12-minute mark then hit two three-pointers before knocking down two free throws. Purvis had been scoreless for the first 27 minutes of the game.

Freshman Christian Vital had a great game as well, putting up 13 points off the bench. Overall, it was a very promising performance for Kevin Ollie’s squad. The offense looked crisp, the defense was disruptive, and UConn won a game comfortably, which we haven’t seen all year. After seeing them flounder early on, it’s clear this is a much-improved team from the start of the season, or even from the start of the 8-scholarship player era.

With conference play about to start, it’s nice to see UConn put a game like this together, even if it was against a lowly opponent. In what should be an open conference competition, anything can happen. If Kentan Facey can continue to be a factor down low and the guard play stays consistent, this can still be a tournament team.

The Huskies are in action next on Friday, December 23rd against Auburn at 2:30 p.m. in Hartford.