UConn Men’s Basketball advanced in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament by defeating the USF Bulls in a hot one in Hartford, 77-67.
It was not a hot one. In fact, it was hideous. The two teams committed 37 turnovers, 16 from the Huskies and 21 from the Bulls, as USF posted a ghastly 24.4% turnover percentage.
Nevertheless, UConn moves on and will face 3-seeded Houston in the nightcap of Friday’s quarterfinals.
The Huskies led just about the entire way through, taking a 13-point advantage into the halftime break. But they failed to put the game away for good, with USF getting to within a basket on multiple occasions. Kentan Facey struggled with foul trouble and Jalen Adams was clearly not 100% due to a recently sustained ankle injury.
Luckily Rodney Purvis was on his A-game, providing a response for each Bull run on his way to a career-high 30 points. The senior also added six rebounds and three steals to make sure the Huskies lived to see another day.
Amida Brimah (13 points, 7 rebounds) had a productive outing, though his offensive chops still leave much to be desired. A pair of freshman, Christian Vital (11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals) and Vance Jackson (7 points, 6 rebounds), had standout performances as well. Vital’s playmaking ability and Jackson’s versatility offer great hope for a brighter tomorrow in Olliewood.
Tip-off for the quarterfinal game against Houston is scheduled for 9 p.m. for the right to take on the winner of Cincinnati versus Tulane. AAC Tournament play will begin at noon Friday with SMU against East Carolina.