Jalen Adams scored 25 points and Christian Vital added 13 as the UConn Huskies beat Tulane on the road Saturday afternoon to extend their winning streak to three. The Huskies (10-7, 3-2 AAC) struggled with turnovers and passiveness early in the game but rarely fell behind in what was an encouraging performance.
The win puts UConn in a three-way tie for fourth in the American Athletic Conference standings with Central Florida and Tulsa, which plays Wichita State tonight.
UConn got off to a hot start, undeterred by Josh Carlton’s two early fouls, taking a seven-point lead by the first commercial break thanks to poor early shooting from the Green Wave, who missed their first six shots from the floor.
UConn’s aggressiveness from their win over Central Florida didn’t carry over to today’s game, as their drives were far less effective, and they rarely appeared at the free throw line, with Tulane’s first foul coming 14 minutes into the game.
UConn played extended stretches with a small lineup due to Tulane’s guard-heavy lineups. This had mixed results, as the first run of the small unit (with four wing players, and Mamadou Diarra playing center) saw Tulane mount a 10-0 run almost immediately. That alone didn’t give the Green Wave the lead, but they’d go ahead for the first time late in the first half.
The Huskies answered back to take a 30-22 at halftime, thanks mostly to wildly disparate shooting rates. UConn shot .429 from the floor and .500 from three in the first period, compared to Tulane’s uncharacteristically low .296/.167 marks. Tulane erased that lead a minute and a half into the second half, getting the game within a point, but Kevin Ollie called a timeout to stop the bleeding. UConn’s turnover problem had continued, and Isaiah Whaley had already picked up his third foul, shrinking the rotation even more.
But UConn pushed forward, looking more lively after the strategic timeout, and held the lead for the entire second half, often by double digits. Adams and Vital sparked the Huskies as they maintained consistent production on offense and forced the Green Wave into taking lower-percentage shots.
Adams began attacking more in the second frame, opening up opportunities for his teammates. While there was still some carelessness with the ball—Adams finished the game with five turnovers—he also handed out open looks, finishing with six assists as his teammates shot 5-9 from three.
Tulane (11-6, 2-3) was led by Melvin Frazier with 16 points, and Cameron Reynolds and Ray Ona Embo also finished in double figures.
It was a solid day for the Husky big men, as Carlton led that group with a career-high ten points. David Onuorah led the team in rebounding with seven boards, four on the offensive end, leading the way for a bench unit that only added five points.
The Huskies stay on the road for their next game. They’ll be visiting Memphis (11-6, 2-2 AAC, 171st KenPom) on Tuesday night in a matchup which tips off at 9 p.m. and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.