The Huskies’ season has likely come to an end, as UConn lost to Houston 84-45 in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday afternoon.
Following a first round win in which the Huskies seemingly couldn’t miss from three, their shooting percentage regressed and over-corrected, converting only three of their 26 attempts from deep. The Cougars, for their part, shot an excellent .435 from beyond the arc, helping them steamroll their first AAC Tournament opponent in hopes for a conference championship.
Jalen Adams fell just short of breaking the career AAC scoring record, but was the only bright spot for the Huskies, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Adams’ career saw him finish tenth all-time in career scoring for the Huskies.
Houston dominated play in the opening minutes, starting on an 11-0 run in the first three and a half minutes, as the Huskies defense couldn’t find an answer for a talented, well-coached Cougars offense that was hitting its jumpers. Eventually the Huskies began to hit some shots of their own, but the early deficit was too large to make up in one swoop.
UConn did get back into the game in the first period, going on a 9-0 run to get within two points of the lead halfway through the frame. The offense had trouble getting consistent points, though, allowing Houston to build up a lead again, going up by as much as 16 before halftime.
Unlike Thursday’s win over South Florida, UConn’s shooting struggled in the first half while its opponent had no trouble scoring. The Cougars made half of their three-point attempts in the first twenty minutes en route to a 39-25 halftime lead, while the Huskies made only a third of their first-half attempts from anywhere on the floor, including a .231 mark from three.
The Huskies offense showed some improvement early in the second half, but lackadaisical defense allowed the Cougars to keep running away with the game, going up by 23 points before five minutes had ticked off. Houston began the half on a lengthy 20-5 run, as the Cougars’ hot shooting was exacerbated by a Huskies defense that failed to locate unguarded players.
No matter the Huskies’ shooting success, the Cougars continued to outpace them, taking a 25-point lead, then a 30-point lead, then a 35-point lead, and there were still nine minutes left in the game. The Huskies didn’t put forth a great effort, and it showed, as they looked worse in the second half than they had at any point of the season.
To say UConn never recovered would be an understatement; the Huskies demonstrated no resilience, even though they had built up the skill during long stretches of injuries this season. The Cougars imposed their will at every point of the game with little resistance.
Houston was led by Corey Davis Jr. with 22 points, and Galen Robinson Jr. and Armoni Brooks both finished in double figures. The top-seeded Cougars will face the winner of the quarterfinal between UCF and Memphis in Saturday’s semifinal.