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UConn Men’s Basketball Sprints Past Lafayette, 90-63

The Huskies took care of business against the Leopards, not even giving their opponent a chance at victory.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Tyler Polley set a new career high in points before halftime, leading UConn to a 90-63 victory over a Lafayette team that struggled with the Connecticut defense.

Polley finished with 16 points, 13 of which came in the first half, on 4-7 shooting from three, as the Huskies (7-2) bounced back after a loss where the team struggled with its outside shot.

Jalen Adams scored 21 points to lead all players, Christian Vital added 14, and Josh Carlton contributed 11, all of them doing so on .500 or better shooting. Alterique Gilbert took only four shots, and played more of a traditional point guard role, dishing out a career-high 11 assists and swiping three steals.

The Huskies wasted no time getting their offense rolling out of the gate, scoring the first eight points of the game, with three-pointers on their first two possessions. Lafayette hung in the game early, but when important scorer Justin Jaworski went to the bench with two early fouls, UConn was able to slow down its opponent’s pace.

That didn’t mean the Huskies pulled away immediately, though. They took three minutes to score their next four points even as the Leopards struggled to hit anything, amidst a series of turnovers and poor shooting choices. When Dan Hurley subbed his starters back into the game, they quickly went on a 12-0 run sparked by Polley’s sharp shooting.

When Carlton left the game with two first-half fouls and the Leopards threatened to make the game competitive again, Adams kept the Huskies ahead with back-to-back baskets, leading another run to put UConn up by 18.

The Huskies took a 45-29 lead into halftime with all three centers—Carlton, Eric Cobb, and Kassoum Yakwe—carrying two fouls, putting an excellent free-throw shooting team at the line far more often than necessary. As a result, the Leopards were only down by 16 despite shooting a paltry .258 from the floor to the Huskies’ more impressive .514 first-half mark.

The Huskies opened the second half with two steals that led to two easy layups, giving them a quick 20-point lead, which quickly became a 28-point advantage. Adams and Polley continued to trade baskets with each other, pacing a UConn side that shot .429 from beyond the arc.

The substitutes improved their play in the second half, maintaining a defensive pressure that had been troubling the Lafayette squad. Tarin Smith played through a dental injury, the exact nature of which was unknown, to finish with nine points and Brendan Adams led the Huskies reserves with 11 points, six rebounds, and a pair of assists.

Carlton led all players with seven rebounds and three blocks, a good sign following a lackluster performance in UConn’s previous game, a loss to Arizona.

The Huskies were up by 30 for several stretches late in the second half before the Lafayette bench brought the scoring margin a little closer, but the Huskies continued to score even with walk-ons in the game, as Daniel Brocke scored for the first time this season.

Paulius Zalys led Lafayette (2-6) with 13 points and Dylan Hastings scored 11, as no starter scored more than eight points for Fran O’Hanlon’s team. The Leopards visit Quinnipiac on Saturday.

Next up, the Huskies travel to Newark, NJ to play No. 11 Florida State in a neutral-site game on Saturday evening.

Dan Hurley, Tyler Polley, Alterique Gilbert, Jalen Adams postgame video