Jalen Adams scored 18 points to lead three Huskies in double-figure scoring as UConn came away with a 70-65 victory over ECU Saturday afternoon in the XL Center in Hartford.
UConn held the lead for nearly the entire game and picked up their first AAC win of the season, snapping a four game losing streak in the process. Connecticut moved to 8-7 overall whlle ECU falls to 7-8 and 1-3 in conference play.
The Pirates held UConn to just 41.7 percent shooting overall while hitting 45.5 percent of their own shots after a cold start. But 21 Pirate turnovers proved to be much of the difference in the game along with some questionable shot selection down the stretch.
Terry Larrier and Christian Vital added 16 points each for the Huskies who avoided their first five game losing streak since 2007. B.J. Tyson scored a game high 21 points to go along with seven rebounds to lead ECU. Kentrell Barkley added 13 points, 7 rebounds and five steals, Dimitri Spasojevic scored 12 points and Shawn Williams tossed in 11 for the Pirates who made a game of it in the end.
“We did a good job in terms of competing and playing hard and I’ll take that kind of effort every night,” ECU head coach Michael Perry said after the loss.
“We’ve shown to be resilient in the face of adversity. What we were going to do is just stand there and let them know that we were to be there for a fight from the beginning to the end and that’s what we did," Perry said, "We had a shot to win it at the end and we continued to compete through all kinds of adversity all throughout the game.”
Four different Huskies got on the scoreboard early capped by a Mamadou Diarra transition dunk to give Connecticut a quick 8-1 lead. Kentrell Barkley finally canned ECU’s first shot nearly seven minutes into the contest. UConn took a twelve-point 16-4 lead on a basket from Jalen Adams while ECU hit just 1 of 9 from the field at the eleven minute mark of the first half.
B.J. Tyson connected on ECU’s second made shot midway through the first half to help the Pirates pull to within eight at 16-8. The Pirates hit just four of their first thirteen shot attempts while the Huskies went 7 of 16 in addition to 5 of 6 from the charity stripe.
But ECU began to heat up late in the period. Dimitri Spasajevic’s drive in the lane on an assist from Barkley cut the UConn lead to six. Shawn Williams’ bomb, two Tyson baskets, Spasojevic’s second basket of the half and a subsequent Kentrell Barkley bucket helped ECU pull to within one at 26-25.
Shawn Williams gave ECU their only two point lead of the game on a three-point bomb before UConn took a one point 32-31 lead into the locker room at halftime. Tyson led the Pirates with twelve and Terry Larrier led UConn with eight points at the break. Both teams shot at a 44 percent clip in the first twenty minutes.
Connecticut held a seven-point 50-43 lead with eight minutes to play in a sloppy second half and maintained that lead down the stretch. Whaley fouled Shawn Williams on a three-point shot attempt and ECU cut the lead to three with under thirty seconds to play.
The Pirates were able to get the ball back and called timeout with 16 seconds remaining on the scoreboard. The Huskies fouled B.J. Tyson with 8.8 seconds to go with a foul to give. Then after an ECU timeout, Tyson missed a long three-point shot attempt, Fleming was called for a foul on the rebound and Tyler Polley iced the UConn victory with a pair of free throws with three seconds to play.
The Pirates are idol until next Thursday night when they host nationally ranked Wichita State in their first ever meeting in Minges Coliseum. Game time is at 9 o’clock and will be televised on ESPN 2.