UConn gets first conference win, 70-65 over East Carolina
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — UConn did not get a pretty win on Saturday, but after four straight losses, the Huskies will take an ugly victory.
Jalen Adams scored 18 points and Connecticut held off East Carolina 70-65 for its first conference win this season.
Terry Larrier and Christian Vital each had 16 points for the Huskies (8-7, 1-2), who were coming off a loss in double overtime to Tulsa.
“We gutted this one out,” said Adams. “I’d rather have done it in a different fashion, but we’ll take the win and we’ve just got to build on that.”
B.J. Tyson led all scorers with 21 for ECU (7-8, 1-3), but missed a big 3-pointer with three seconds left that would have tied the game.
UConn led by as many as 12 points in the first half and by six with 48 seconds left after a free throw from Vital.
But Antwoine Anderson fouled Shawn Williams on a 3-point attempt and he hit three foul shots with 25 seconds left cut the UConn lead to 68-65.
The Pirates got the ball back after a missed free throw by Larrier at the other end.
But Tyson missed from the left baseline and Tyler Polley hit two free throws on the other end to seal the win.
“We got a great look and we can’t ask for nothing better,” said ECU’s interim head coach Michael Perry. “You actually come in here, you’ve been on the road and you have a chance to tie it and potentially win it at the buzzer.”
It was a sloppy game with the teams combining for 37 turnovers and just 19 assists.
Larrier and Adams were able to joke about that after the game. Adams interrupted a postgame interview with Larrier, grabbing the microphone to tell the reporter the key to winning was to “make your free throws down the stretch.” Larrier responded, “OK, turnover machine.”
“We’ve got to limit turnovers and I’ve got to knock down those free throws down the stretch,” he added.
Adams had 7 of his team’s 16 giveaways.
ECU: The Pirates are now 0-2 against teams from Connecticut, having lost by 11 points in November to Central Connecticut.
UConn: The Huskies had just seven assists after recording 18 in their last game. After using 12 different starting lineups this season, Kevin Ollie went with the same five for the second consecutive game: Adams, Vital, Larrier, Isaiah Whaley and Josh Carlton.
STAT OF THE GAME
The teams made just seven of 36 shots that were taken from 3-point range. ECU was 5 of 20, with Tyson hitting just one of his seven attempts. UConn hit just 2 of 16 from behind the arc, with Vital going 2 of 8.
Some verbal back-and-forth in the post-game handshake line led to some shoving before players were separated and went to their locker rooms.
“We have to do a better job and I know coach Perry is telling his team the same thing, hopefully,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said.
Adams needs just 10 points to reach the 1,000-point plateau for his career.
East Carolina: The Pirates head back home for three games, beginning with conference newcomer Wichita State on Thursday.
UConn: The Huskies head back to campus for a game at Gampel Pavilion on Wednesday against UCF.
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