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Final Score: UConn Men’s Basketball Falls at Home to SMU, 69-61

The Huskies weathered a hot Mustang start but could never get it closer than striking distance.

Ian Bethune

The UConn Huskies have lost two straight after dropping a home contest to No. 17 SMU, 69-61, at the XL Center Saturday afternoon.

A well-rounded team in the top tier of the American, SMU asserted itself early with a 13-0 run to take a 10-point lead less than five minutes into the game. The big difference in the first half came behind the arc, where SMU hit 9-of-13. Shake Milton’s 18 points on 6-of-7 three-point attempts led the Mustangs to an 11-point lead at the break. He finished with 20 points and eight rebounds.

UConn wasn’t playing horribly, but going 2-10 from three in the first half while SMU hit just about everything made life tough for the Huskies. It became even tougher when Jalen Adams headed to the locker room with a left ankle injury late in the first half. His long-term status is uncertain.

The Huskies continued to battle in the second half, getting within five after a Rodney Purvis three with 9:20 remaining, but that was as close as it would get. Purvis finished with 11 points on a cold shooting night, finishing 4-of-18 from the field and 2-of-12 from deep. It certainly didn’t help that he was thrust into more of a point guard role with Adams out.

Kentan Facey had a great outing, with an efficient 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go along with nine rebounds. He showed some nice touch on the block and around the circle with a defender right on him. His low-post mate Amida Brimah had some key stops on his way to four blocks and 11 rebounds while providing a steady defensive presence but was a non-factor offensively.

Christian Vital delivered the other standout performance, finishing with 14 points and four rebounds while making a ton of plays all over the court.

The Huskies’ shot selection wasn’t great, especially late, but with Adams out they needed to just get shots up if they were going to come back. Despite the loss, this team showed a lot of heart to keep competing and definitely has valuable assets. With a healthy Adams, it could still win the conference tournament.

UConn (14-14, 9-7 AAC) is in action next on Wednesday at East Carolina. The Pirates are currently eighth in the conference standings with a 5-10 AAC record.

Photo gallery credits: Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog