The UConn Huskies dropped a game in disappointing fashion at the University of Houston on Wednesday night, 75-70, in a game for sole possession of third place in the AAC on the line. UConn opened Wednesdays’ matchup looking like a team gearing up for a magical run to the postseason, but a dismal second-half performance was the Huskies’ undoing.
Winners of four straight going into the contest, Connecticut appeared on its way to its fifth consecutive win in the first half with Kentan Facey, Steven Enoch and Vance Jackson leading the way. The trio was efficient offensively, countering the slow starts of Rodney Purvis, Christian Vital and Jalen Adams.
Facey was strong inside and Jackson continued to show a steady touch from the outside. But it was Enoch—who was 3-of-3 including flashing a sweet little jumper—who showed some his best offensive flashes of the year.
Adams, coming off the game-winner against Temple on Sunday, rounded into form late in the opening half, going into halftime with 11 of his team-high 18 points. The sophomore was aggressive in the open floor, getting to the line eight times overall. He also added five assists and four rebounds. UConn took a 10-point lead into the halftime break, but went ice cold from the field to start the second half.
The cold streak spared no Husky, as UConn went 9-of-29 from the floor after the break, finishing at 39% for the night. The Huskies missed 10 of their first 11 shots as its 10-point lead evaporated and Houston charged ahead.
An Adams’ jumper with 4:02 left cut the Cougars’ lead to five. Jackson (16 points, 2 rebounds) buried a three that brought the Huskies within four, 65-61 with 1:24. It never got any closer than that as Houston was money down the stretch from the free-throw line.
The Cougars were led by the hot shooting of Damyean Dotson, who scored a game-high 25 points. Rob Gray added 16 after a poor first-half performance.
Amida Brimah struggled underneath all night long. The senior big man scored just four points to go along with eight rebounds and wasn’t much of factor at the rim. It wasn’t just Brimah—the Huskies committed 10 turnovers to the Cougars’ five.
Sure, the UConn Huskies will have to go through SMU and Cincinnati in the AAC tournament for a chance to get to the NCAA tournament. That’s the end game, but what happens between now and then matters. After making two straight improbable comeback wins, it’s disappointing to see UConn blow a lead like that in an opportunity to earn a road win.
The Huskies are now 9-6 in the conference (14-13 overall), tied with Memphis for fourth place. The No. 4 and No. 5 seed will play in the conference tournament quarterfinals at 2 p.m.