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UConn Men’s Basketball Drops Close Game to Arizona, 76-72

The Huskies struggled against perimeter pressure in the loss.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn men’s basketball played a tough second half but couldn’t overcome its halftime deficit, as Arizona relied on inside shooting and active defense to carry them to a 76-72 victory.

Jalen Adams was the game’s high scorer with 21 points, along with six assists, which also led all players. Adams was one of three Huskies who finished with four fouls.

Eric Cobb scored a dozen points off the bench, and Christian Vital added 11. Alterique Gilbert struggled with his shot for perhaps the first time all season, getting open looks but making only three of his twelve attempts.

The Huskies got off to a slow start, as Josh Carlton was whistled for two fouls in the first three minutes, putting the Wildcats ahead 7-2 early. Cobb became an impact substitution immediately, representing UConn’s only reliable offensive option in the opening minutes of the game. Cobb had a then-game high ten points by the time he returned to the bench with eight minutes left.

After an Arizona run, the Huskies found another super sub with Sidney Wilson, who knocked down his first two jumpers as a member of the Huskies to give them a 22-20 lead halfway through the first. Wilson, who played only sparingly in his debut on Tuesday, contributed seven points to the UConn effort.

Dan Hurley’s starters struggled to combat Sean Miller’s top group early on, as the UConn ballhandlers had a difficult time adjusting to Arizona’s perimeter pressure. The Wildcats extended their lead, but Adams got hot late in the first half to bring the Huskies back into the game, leading all players with 14 points at the break.

Arizona led 42-38 at halftime, with frontcourt foul trouble affecting both teams. It had little impact on Arizona’s interior scoring, though, as the Wildcats made all but one of their first half field goals from inside the arc.

The Huskies came out refocused to begin the second half, cutting down their prior sloppy ball control to better attack the Arizona defense. Nonetheless, the UConn shots stopped falling for a long period, even when the Huskies found open spots on the floor.

With four minutes left in the game, a Gilbert breakaway layup cut the Arizona lead to five, and stingy UConn defense forced a shot clock violation. A later Gilbert jumper brought it down to a single possession game, and after the Wildcats continued to make the Huskies defense pay at the foul line, Polley’s two straight threes brought the Huskies within two points with only a minute to play.

That was as close as the Huskies would get, however, as Arizona’s foul shooters rarely missed down the stretch, giving a close win to the Wildcats.

Arizona (6-2) was led by Brandon Randolph, who scored 20 points, and Chase Jeter’s 14. The Wildcats host Utah Valley on Thursday.

UConn (6-2) hosts Lafayette on Wednesday at the XL Center.

Dan Hurley, Sid Wilson, Eric Cobb, Jalen Adams postgame video