The UConn Huskies trailed for most of their Sunday afternoon contest against Temple but found a way to win after Jalen Adams hit a go-ahead layup with 2.9 seconds remaining for a 64-63 victory at the Liacouras Center in Philly.
“Coach (Kevin Ollie) just trusted me to make the play,” Adams told ESPN after the game. He finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.
An ugly first half ended with Temple ahead 35-29. Nine turnovers and poor shooting contributed to the Huskies’ woes. UConn played better in the second half but was still kept at bay until late in the game. The Huskies kept chipping away at the lead but Temple continued to respond and build it back.
Down 10 with 8 minutes left, UConn rode an 11-2 run to make it a one-point game with 4:29 to go. Rodney Purvis scored seven of the 11 in that run on his way to an 18-point performance. In a big second half, he hit a three-pointer to tie it at 60 with three minutes remaining.
Temple answered right back with a three from Quinton Rose to make it 63-60. The Owls had the ball at that score with two minutes left, but after they grabbed two offensive rebounds on the possession, Adams made a steal and hit two free throws on the other end.
With 41 seconds left, Daniel Dingle missed the front end of a one-and-one and UConn got the ball back with a chance to take the lead. Eventually, the Huskies were inbounding with eight seconds left and the shot clock off.
Adams took the ball up top, dribbled past two defenders and underhanded one with his right hand from the left off the backboard and in for the game-winning bucket. The Huskies have now won four in a row and seven of their last eight.
JALEN ADAMS FOR THE WIN pic.twitter.com/uBoMRpzvSn— Daniel Connolly (@DanielVConnolly) February 19, 2017
This is another great confidence-building win but Kevin Ollie and the Huskies do need to eliminate the stretches where they look absolutely clueless offensively. The unforced errors need to be cut down. Overall, shot selection was solid and they finished a healthy 46.9% from the field.
UConn (14-12, 9-5 AAC) takes on Houston (18-8, 9-5 AAC) next on Wednesday with the two teams currently tied for third in the conference standings. The game will take place in Hofheinz Pavilion at 9 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.