UConn men’s basketball advances to the semifinals of the Big East Tournament after defeating DePaul, 94-60. It was a thorough beating and a balanced team effort for Dan Hurley’s squad in their triumphant return to conference tournament play at Madison Square Garden.
In an evening filled with dunks, Tyrese Martin was the Huskies’ leading scorer and rebounder with 14 points and 10 boards. RJ Cole also scored 14 on a 5-10 shooting effort that included a 3-5 performance from three and also dished eight assists. UConn had a great passing night, managing 20 assists on 34 made field goals. They won the turnover battle, 8-15, and scored 26 points off those turnovers.
Adama Sanogo also scored 14. The freshman helped the Huskies get going early with eight points in the first half. Star guard James Bouknight logged 10 points, all in the first half, along with five rebounds, and five assists. He left the game early in the second half and made a brief return only to leave about halfway through due to leg cramps.
Scary scenes from the tunnel as James Bouknight struggles with potential cramps pic.twitter.com/uohxxHWNk9— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) March 12, 2021
While UConn fans expressed concern for the health of their team’s best player, Hurley joked that Bouknight was being “overly dramatic” and that’s how big stars act, adding that Bouknight does a “horrible job of conserving his energy.”
Seniors Tyler Polley and Isaiah Whaley stuffed the stat sheet, combining for six blocks and making opportunistic plays within the flow of the game. Polley had nine points with two threes and five rebounds while Whaley scored five and grabbed eight boards.
UConn was up by eight in the first five minutes and pushed it to double digits by the end of the first half, taking a 45-22 lead into the break. The second half saw more of the same as the Huskies cruised to victory, with Andrew Hurley making a highlight in the waning minutes as he took the court and hit a 3-pointer. By the end of the game, 12 different Huskies scored and they also posted a dominant effort on the glass, outrebounding the Blue Demons 53-32 and scoring 50 points in the paint.
The Huskies (15-6) have now won five games in a row and seven of their last eight. They will go on to meet no. 2 seed Creighton in the second semifinal at 9 p.m. Friday on FS1, with Seton Hall taking on Georgetown on the other side of the bracket. The finals are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.