The last time out, the Huskies got Amida Brimah back. In Memphis on Thursday night, they welcomed back Daniel Hamilton's shooting stroke.
Hamilton's near triple-double (16 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists) led UConn to a 77-57 win at the FedExForum and the season sweep of the Memphis Tigers. The sophomore's strong first-half performance kept the Huskies close before pulling away after the break, improving to 16-6 and 6-3 in the American Athletic Conference.
Hamilton confidently stepped into and knocked down his first shot of the game—a three from the elbow—and just like that he was rolling. He hit his patented, off-balance shot in the lane, connected from the high post, and was true again from beyond the arch. In total Hamilton scored 12 points, grabbed five boards and dished out a pair of assists in the half, sending the Huskies to the break down by one, 37-36.
Brimah, who came off the bench in his second game back from injury, was hampered by foul trouble, limited to four points and one rebound. He did come up with a sweet put-back dunk and rocked the rim a second time on a nice feed from a cutting Hamilton.
Memphis (13-9, 4-5) fed Shaq Goodwin and Dedric Lawson inside all night, giving Brimah, Kentan Facey and Phil Nolan fits.
Enter freshman Steven Enoch.
In desperate need of an answer for Goodwin, Enoch came in and matched the big man's physicality inside, slowing the Tigers' attack. The Huskies offense found its rhythm late in the first half led by the playmaking of Jalen Adams.
UConn opened the second half on a 19-9 run, holding the Tigers to just 4-of-16 shooting, including 1 for 5 from distance and 11-of-20 from the charity stripe. The Huskies were overpowering on the glass, out-rebounding Memphis 38-29. Hamilton's 13 boards and Nolan's five helped in totaling a 16-4 advantage in second-chance points, a marked improvement from January's win in Storrs.
Rodney Purvis (15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists) and Adams (7 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) set the tone defensively in the second half, combining for five of the Huskies' 10 steals. Setup in large part by 20 Memphis turnovers, UConn got into transition, piling up bucket after bucket in the lane. Hamilton continued to go to work from the high post while Miller scrapped down low (14 pts, 4 rebounds) and when the dust settled, the Huskies had outscored the Tigers 54-24 in the paint.
UConn is now a half game behind Cincinnati and Temple, who both improved to 7-3 in the AAC tonight with wins as well. The Huskies, who moved up to 21st in KenPom efficiency rankings with the second best defense, will look for their third straight win on Sunday when they host East Carolina at Gampel Pavilion at noon.