Wichita State crushed UConn in a game where the Huskies led only on the first basket of the game, as the No. 22 Shockers won 95-74 on Saturday night.
The Shockers dominated UConn on the boards and forced the Huskies into committing 21 fouls, while making exactly half of their 3-point attempts. Wichita State spread the ball around, completing 24 assists with only nine turnovers, and seeing eleven different players score.
Christian Vital and Jalen Adams both scored 22 points for the Huskies, each making three shots from beyond the arc. Terry Larrier struggled after seeming to break his slump against South Florida, making only two of his nine attempts. Antwoine Anderson added nine points off the bench.
The Huskies scored the first points of the game on a Christian Vital three, but the Shockers tied it up immediately and took their first lead of the game soon afterward. Foul trouble mounted early for UConn, as they were whistled for five violations in the first four minutes, relegating Josh Carlton and Isaiah Whaley to the bench with two fouls each.
Wichita went on a 21-4 run from there, using their shooting ability to exploit UConn’s diminished defense that saw their frontcourt rotation shrink even more when Mamadou Diarra picked up his second foul with 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
Despite the Wichita State offense firing on all cylinders, UConn was able to stay in the game for the first ten minutes thanks to good shooting from the Huskies guards. Turnover issues and poor rebounding gave them fewer opportunities than the Shockers, but they were able to convert those chances at a roughly similar rate to their opponent. Shooting wasn’t the Huskies’ problem—they had a 44.4/36.4 percent shooting line at halftime—but Wichita State missed 18 shots and rebounded ten of them. That, plus terrific shooting from the Shockers, was the reason for the large halftime margin, as they went into the break up by a score of 55-33.
The Huskies got off to a quick 7-0 run early in the second half, but Wichita State responded with an equally quick run of its own, leading to Kevin Ollie calling his third timeout just four minutes into the period as the Shockers went up by 25.
Unsurprisingly, UConn again found themselves in foul trouble in the second half, pushing many of their top frontcourt players to the bench for extended minutes. The results weren’t great; the Huskies didn’t get within 19 points of the lead for the rest of the game.
Landry Shamet led Wichita State with 16 points, and Conner Frankamp, Shaquille Morris, and Darral Willis Jr. also finished in double figures. Rashard Kelly led all players in both rebounds and assists, with ten boards and five dimes.
The Shockers improve to 19-5 and 9-3 in the American Athletic Conference, breaking a tie for second place.
The loss drops UConn from a tie for sixth place in the AAC to ninth, as they fall to 5-7 in the league and 12-13 overall. The Huskies host 14-10 Tulsa on Thursday at the XL Center in Hartford. The game will be televised on ESPNU.