MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) UConn's success in March continued in the opening round of the American Athletic Conference tournament thanks to accurate first-half shooting that spread into the early stages of the second.
The shooting that hovered above 63 percent with eight minutes left in the game, provided enough of a buffer for UConn to withstand a late run by South Florida, allowing the Huskies to hold on for an 80-73 victory on Thursday.
"(The Huskies) run and their transition offense really put us in a bind," USF coach Brian Gregory said. "We were on our heels in transition."
Christian Vital scored 25 points to lead UConn, while Jalen Adams, who missed seven games in February with a sprained MCL, added 19 points and six rebounds. UConn (16-16) moves on to Friday's quarterfinal game against 11th-ranked and top-seeded Houston.
"I really like the way we guarded," UConn coach Dan Hurley said. "Really like the way we played the game completely, especially the first 35 minutes. We were in complete control of the game."
The Huskies shot 66.7 percent from the field in the first half to set a new conference record for shooting percentage in a half. UConn's shooting was so accurate, it was still at 70.4 percent (19 of 27) with 15 minutes left in the game, including 10 of 16 from outside the arc.
And Adams missed six of the eight shots where the Huskies misfired.
"It was just a great feeling," Adams said of UConn's accurate shooting, "Especially when it is just do-or-die, and you see everything going in the hoop like that. It's just a great feeling, and you build so much confidence." >> Read More
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