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UConn Men’s Basketball Shoots Down the Orange, 83-76

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The Huskies put together a rock-solid performance for an early statement win.

NCAA Basketball: Empire Classic-Connecticut at Syracuse
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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The UConn Huskies notched a big win Thursday night in Madison Square Garden, taking down the 15th-ranked Syracuse Orange, 83-76, in impressive fashion.

Alterique Gilbert and Jalen Adams led the Huskies with 16 points each. Adams added eight rebounds and four assists while Gilbert dished out eight assists and grabbed five boards while going 4-of-5 from behind the arc.

It was a great shooting day for UConn overall, as the Huskies finished 49 percent from the field and 12-21 (57.1%) from three. They also did well on the boards, winning the rebounding battle, 46-32, and holding a marked advantage in offensive and defensive rebound percentage.

Eric Cobb had a monster game off the bench, scoring 13 points and matching it with 13 rebounds. That UConn was able to get the big men involved, and pass so well—22 assists on 28 made field goals—is extremely promising for the attack going forward.

UConn was running early and often out of the gate, with offensive pace and defensive intensity as it jumped out to a 13-4 start. Remarkably, the Huskies kept the fire and enthusiasm throughout. Syracuse evened it up midway through, but UConn pulled ahead to take a 38-32 lead into halftime.

Dan Hurley’s squad almost ran away with it in the second, taking a 12-point lead at the 10-minute mark. Once again, though, the Orange made a run to keep it close, but the Huskies held on when it mattered.

Who are these guys?

In the final minutes, Alterique Gilbert and Jalen Adams hit back-to-back threes to put UConn up 10 with 1:41 left. UConn showed tremendous poise to make all the plays it needed to down the stretch and keep its composure when things got hot, which they most certainly did throughout the game.

The way UConn handled its business speaks volumes to how prepared Dan Hurley had these guys, who struggled against East Carolina, Monmouth and Columbia, for a big matchup. The Huskies will face the winner of Iowa vs. Oregon tomorrow at MSG.