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Final Score: UConn Men’s Basketball Posts a Gritty Win Over Tulane, 78-68

The Huskies trailed early and into the second half but got their act together late to win relatively comfortably.

Kentan Facey gets ready to slam home two of his game-high 20 points.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn fans are quickly learning how weird things can get when there are just six scholarship players on your team.

Players don’t get the hook immediately after their second foul in the first half or their third foul early in the second. If someone’s shooting is cold or has mistakes piling up, Kevin Ollie can’t sub him out, give him a breather, and offer some words of advice. Fatigue inevitably hurts the team’s performance.

Under these challenging circumstances, albeit against weak competition, the Huskies have now won three in a row after beating Tulane 78-68 at Gampel Pavilion.

Despite trailing big early, and by a decent amount throughout the second half, the Huskies overcame foul trouble and rode a late run to victory over a feisty Green Wave squad.

Turnovers and cold shooting from lead guards Jalen Adams and Rodney Purvis—who went a combined 2-14 from the field in the first half—led to an 11-2 Tulane run as the Green Wave took control in the early going. They were up by as many as 13 while shooting over 50% from the field for most of the first half, finishing it at 42%.

Amida Brimah and Christian Vital kept UConn afloat and got the Huskies back into it with 10 points each in the opening 20 minutes. The turnovers slowed and the offense got into a rhythm while Tulane’s shooting cooled off a bit. UConn was able to tie it up in the final minute and trailed by just two at the break.

Vital finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists off the bench while hitting all six of his free throws. Brimah had one of his best games of the season with 18 points, eight rebounds, and five blocks while going 10-of-12 from the charity stripe. Their stellar performances helped the Huskies finish 85.7% from the free-throw line.

Tulane regained its lead in the second half as discombobulated play (again) and foul trouble plagued the Huskies. Adams, Facey, and Brimah quickly got their third and Brimah’s fourth came with just under nine minutes left.

As they have all season, UConn showed great spirit to overcome adversity when it would have been easy to pack it in. The crowd roared to life during a 25-4 Husky run as Tulane went over five minutes without scoring. The run saw some great blocks from Brimah and monster dunks from Purvis and Facey as the Huskies completely flipped the script, sending the walk-ons out with a comfortable lead in the final minute.

Facey has been feasting as of late, and tonight was no different. He finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double in his past six games. Also, I love him.

The Huskies are in action next against Cincinnati (18-2, 7-0 AAC) at 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 4 on the road against the conference-leading Bearcats.