UConn Defeats USF On the Road, 81-60
Who needs a bench, the UConn Huskies have freshman Christian Vital.
For the second straight game, the Huskies made do with a six-man rotation and rolled over South Florida, 81-60, Wednesday night in American Athletic Conference action at the Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.
Vital had a career-high scoring performance thanks to five three-pointers and 17 points as the Huskies (9-11, 4-4 AAC) won their second straight. Sophomore point guard Jalen Adams led the way with 20 points and 12 assists, while five of six scholarship Huskies finished in double figures. Rodney Purvis added 14 points while Vance Jackson and Kentan Facey each had 12.
After leading 35-33 at the half, the Huskies dominated, going 8-for-12 on three-pointers to pull away to finish 12-for-20 from long range.
“I think we really came out in the second half, played with passion, played with heard,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said on ESPNU afterwards. “Got 10 steals and Jalen was our catalyst getting another double-double … but everybody chipped in."
With three players out for the season and Juwan Durham and Steve Enoch sitting out with foot injuries, it was once again all hands on deck for the Huskies.
“Christian Vital was big off the bench,” Ollie said. “Rodney got it going in the second half and for us to shot 12-for-20 from the 3-point line, I’ll take that all day.”
Troy Holston had 15 points and Michael Bibby Jr., the son of former NBA guard Mike Bibby, added 14 for USF (6-13, 0-8). The Bulls are currently last in the AAC standings.
The Bulls took a brief lead twice in the second half, with the last one coming at 44-43 with 15:43 left. The Huskies stormed back, outscoring USF 23-9 to lead 66-53 with 6:36 left on a Purvis 3-pointer. Vital hit three 3-pointers on the run and Purvis scored of his 10 points on it.
UConn returns home to host Tulane at 8 p.m. Saturday at Gampel Pavilion.