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Final: UConn Men’s Basketball Blown Out by Villanova, 81-61

The Huskies couldn’t keep up with the top-ranked team in the country at all.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

The UConn Huskies hosted No. 1 Villanova Saturday afternoon at the XL Center in an old Big East reunion with marquee billing on CBS. Things started off alright for the Huskies in front of the national audience, but a late first-half run by Villanova broke the game open and it ended in a rout, 81-61.

Few expected UConn to put up much of a fight in this one, but early on it looked like the Huskies might, similar to how they competed against their previous ranked opponents, Wichita State and Arizona. The game was tied after four minutes as Villanova began the game cold from the field, allowing the Huskies to hang around even though they weren’t playing too hot either. Villanova came out of the U-4 with an 8-0 run and never looked back. UConn was able to keep the lead within single digits but a 21-4 Wildcats run to end the half changed that.

The drubbing continued into the second half, with Villanova looking like the No. 1 team in the country and UConn looking like the struggle bus it has been since Alterique Gilbert went down. Nova dominated the boards, finishing with a 48-32 advantage, with 16 offensive rebounds, and was in complete control most of the way through.

Post-Game Video: Kevin Ollie, Josh Carlton, Jalen Adams

Terry Larrier, playing with a mask on due to a sinus fracture which caused him to miss the Memphis debacle, did not have his best performance, finishing 3-14 from the field and missing all six of his three-point attempts. Jalen Adams did his best, leading the Huskies with 19 points to go along with five assists and four rebounds, but simply didn’t have enough to work with on the rest of the roster. Christian Vital (15 points, 6 rebounds) was the Huskies’ second-leading scorer and big man Josh Carlton (13 points, 9 rebounds) had another good performance. Carlton has hit double figures in three straight games.

After the game, UConn shared that Terry Larrier will be undergoing surgery and is expected to miss the next two games.

For Villanova, Jalen Brunson led the way with 23 points while Donte DiVincenzo scored 17—both hit five three-pointers. Omari Spellman (9 points, 12 rebounds) and Mikal Bridges (9 points, 9 rebounds) were the reasons UConn was dominated down low. Despite the cold start, the Wildcats finished 41 percent from the field, while UConn hit just 34 percent of its shots.

The Huskies (10-9, 3-3 AAC) are in action next on Thursday evening when they host SMU at Gampel Pavilion in a 7 p.m. tip. The Mustangs (13-6, 3-3 AAC) are currently ranked 30th in KenPom.