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Final Score: UConn Downed By Memphis, 70-61

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The Huskies are off to their worst start since the 1980s and on their longest losing streak in the Kevin Ollie era.

NCAA Basketball: Connecticut at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

After beating the Memphis three times a season ago, including the AAC Tournament championship, the UConn Huskies were outclassed and outmatched by Tubby Smith’s Tigers, 70-61. UConn is now 0-3 in conference play for the first time since 1984-85.

The story was more of the same for UConn at FedExForum on Thursday night as prolonged periods of ineffective offense and a crumbling defense were more than Kevin Ollie’s depleted roster could overcome. The Huskies have now lost four straight, something they haven’t done in nearly five years.

UConn came out of the gates strong, building a quick lead as four different starters scored early buckets. Rodney Purvis knocked down a three, Kentan Facey flashed a pretty turnaround jumper and Amida Brimah converted from the block.

But from there it got sloppy.

Steve Enoch missed a point-blank attempt to add further despair to two extended-scoreless droughts for the Huskies. UConn was tricked into playing at the Tigers’ pace, settling for quick shots that led to Memphis chances in transition. When the dust settled on the first half, the Huskies needed a circus finish from Jalen Adams at the buzzer to go into the break down just eight, 32-24.

Memphis continued to dominate as the Tigers’ lead swelled to 19 thanks to a pair of dunks by Markel Crawford. UConn had no answer for Crawford, who scored a game-high 19 points to along with eight rebounds. Memphis had three players in double figures as Jimario Rivers dropped 16 on 7-of-9 shooting and Dedric Lawson came away with a double-double, totaling 15 points and 11 rebounds. The Tigers (11-4, 1-2) shot 48 percent from the field and had 19-10 advantage on the fast break.

Connecticut turnovers piled up in the second half, ending with 15 in all, compared to Memphis’ 4. UConn was 4-of-20 from three and 25-of-66 (38 percent) from the floor.

Adams and Purvis both played all 40 minutes and were up-and-down, combining to score just 20 points on 8-of-33 shooting. The Huskies trimmed the lead to nine with 3:26 to go, but just as the story has gone all year, UConn’s one step forward was rewarded with two steps back. The Tigers quickly pumped the advantage back up to 14 on their way to handing UConn its fourth straight loss.

For those inclined to remain optimistic about the Huskies: Brimah set a career high with 15 rebounds, also scoring 9 points and Vance Jackson seems to be gaining more confidence in his outside shot (see Steph Curry-esque attempt in the closing minutes). Also, freshman Juwan Durham provided a bit of a spark off the bench.

Unless UConn has a knight in shining armor (read: Hamidou Diallo) coming to save its season, the story will remain the same. The Huskies hope the next chapter they write on Sunday at the XL Center against UCF has a bit of a happier ending.