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UConn Men’s Basketball falters late in PK80 loss to No. 4 Michigan State, 77-57

The Huskies played competitively for most of the game but couldn’t keep it up down the stretch.

NCAA Basketball: Connecticut at Michigan State Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The UConn Huskies put forth a valiant effort but made too many mistakes throughout as they suffered their first loss of the season, 77-57, to Michigan State. It’s a tough loss, but much better for the team than playing DePaul would have been.

The Huskies played a competitive first half, after which they were lucky to be down by just one considering how many turnovers and bad shots they had. Michigan State’s defense did not make things easy, as UConn settled for far too many threes and other ill-advised shots.

The Spartans started to pull away in the second half as sophomore guard Cassius Winston scored 12 points in four minutes to help MSU take control. Winston finished with 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting with five assists as well.

Jalen Adams, Terry Larrier, and Alterique Gilbert all had productive outings for the Huskies, combining for 50 points and doing their best to keep UConn in the game against a superior opponent. Unfortunately, only two other Huskies scored at all and they combined for just seven points. That is not good.

UConn played decently, but ultimately Michigan State did a better job on both sides of the court. The Spartans finished over 13 percent higher than UConn from the field and 13 percentage points better from long distance in the game. They also held a slight edge in rebounds and turnovers, but it was the hot shooting in the second half which allowed them to put this one away.

For as shaky as things have been in the Husky program lately, the silver lining is that this UConn team really looked like it belonged on the court with a top-five team for most of the game. You never want to lose by 20, but there are much worse ways to do it, and the team still showed it has some of the components of a competitive postseason team.

The Huskies will take on Arkansas next to complete PK80 Tournament play on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET. The Razorbacks are ranked 39th in KenPom and opened the PK80 with a win over Oklahoma before losing to UNC in the second round. KenPom projections favor Arkansas by four points.