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Takeaways from UConn MBB’s Win Over South Florida

A great shooting performance powered the Huskies to their first AAC road win.

NCAA Basketball: Connecticut at South Florida Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

For the second-straight game, UConn took the floor with only six scholarship players available. Unlike the 72-65 win over East Carolina, the Huskies waited until the second half to pull away from the Bulls to get the win and even their conference record at 4-4.

South Florida kept it close longer than Husky fans would have liked. The Bulls trailed 35-33 at the half and took a 41-40 lead four minutes into the second half. It would be South Florida’s only lead of the night as UConn closed the game with a 24-7 extended run.

Here’s what we learned from the performance.

Making it Rain in the Sunshine State

Two things that have plagued UConn all season are zone offense and perimeter shooting. All it took was a trip to Florida for the Huskies to effectively swish and dish. They shot an astounding 12-20 from deep (60%), going 8-12 in the second half.

More importantly, these shots were created from superb ball movement in the halfcourt offense. The Huskies assisted on 19 of their 26 field goals and finished with a season-best 1.306 points per possession.

Jalen Adams led the charge again with a game-high 20 points and 12 assists. He was the best player on the floor and always seemed to score every time UConn needed a bucket. Adams relentlessly attacked the rim, which busted USF’s zone and created open shots for teammates.

Vance Jackson and Rodney Purvis were big beneficiaries of this as they combined for 26 points, going 5-9 from three.

Improved Vital Signs

While Adams played great, Christian Vital deserves a lot of the credit as well for UConn’s big shooting night. As the sixth and only man off the Husky bench, the freshman broke out for a career-high 17 points, shooting 5-7 from deep. He scored 11 of those points in the second half, which fueled the Huskies separation from the Bulls.

It was a welcome sight for a guard who had been struggling with his shot. Entering Wednesday, he was just 5-21 from three in his last seven games. A performance like this could jolt Vital’s confidence. He and Vance Jackson could make a name for themselves here as lethal knockdown shooters.

Second Half Surge

I mentioned after the East Carolina win that the injuries and fatigue could play an impact late in games and down the stretch. With Steven Enoch and Juwan Durham out again tonight, this was certainly a possibility against South Florida.

Amazingly, there were no signs of it Wednesday night. UConn shot well for 40 minutes and improved as the game progressed. In the second half, they shot 46% from the floor, 67% from three, and 93% from the line. Even though they let a bad South Florida team hang around, the Huskies forced 11 turnovers and blew out the Bulls, 46-27, after the break.

While South Florida ranks at the bottom of the AAC, nights like this should only help UConn develop moving forward. After starting 0-3, the Huskies have won 4 of 5 in conference play and can build serious momentum Saturday heading into next week’s matchup with Cincinnati.