Boatright scores 28 as UConn beat USF 66-53
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) UConn led USF by just two points with 12 minutes to go when Ryan Boatright decided enough was enough.
The Huskies’ senior guard took the game over, scoring 19 of his 28 points down the stretch and leading the defending national champions to a 66-53 win on Sunday.
”I just told myself I’m going to be aggressive the rest of the way, and that’s what I did,” he said. ”They gave me shots and I created some shots for myself and I knocked them down.”
Rodney Purvis added 17 for the Huskies (11-7, 4-2 American) who beat the Bulls (7-13, 1-6) for the second time this month.
Nehemias Morillo had a career-high 18 for South Florida, which lost for the fifth straight time, a streak that began with a 58-44 loss to the Huskies in Tampa. Corey Allen Jr. added 11.
Connecticut led by 10 points at halftime and by 12 early in the second half.
But the Bulls used a 9-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Anthony Collins, to get back into the game and had a chance to tie trailing 39-37 with 12 minutes left.
But Amida Brimah blocked a layup attempt by Allen and the Bulls would not get that close again.
Purvis made a pair of free throws on the other end and then Boatright scored the Huskies’ next 13 points. His second 3-pointer during the stretch put the Huskies ahead 54-43.
”When you’re as talented as he is and he gets a little groove going, it’s hard to stop the floodgates,” said USF coach Orlando Antigua. ”We tried to change up defenses and give them different looks and they did a great job adjusting.”
The team’s combined for 41 fouls, 23 of them by the Bulls whose big men spent much of the game in foul trouble. Collins fouled out and Bo Zeigler picked up his fourth foul just two minutes into the second half and played just 23 minutes.
UConn made 22 of its 29 foul shots. Boatright hit 10 of his 11 attempts from the line and Purvis was 8 of 12. USF was 10 of 16 from the line.
”Game like that, you’re going to have, tit-for-tat,” Purvis said. ”Our main thing is just to stay aggressive.”
The Huskies shot 46 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Bulls 35-18.
Daniel Hamilton had 10 rebounds and Kentan Facey added 9. Brimah finished with six boards and five blocked shots.
UConn, which fell behind by seven points in the teams’ first meeting, had a better start in this one. The Huskies used an 11-1 run to take an early 18-9 lead.
South Florida managed just six field goals in the first half and the teams combined for just 15 before intermission, getting everything else from the free-throw line.
The Huskies improved to 7-3 at home this season and 4-1 in Hartford.
USF: The Bulls played without starting forward Chris Perry, who was hospitalized on Saturday with chest pains. He was on the bench for the second half Sunday and team spokesman Steve Schoon said he will undergo more testing back in Florida.
UConn: Ryan Boatright moved up the school’s all-time scoring list. He now has 1,491 career points, passing Kevin Freeman (1,476) for 18th place. Freeman is now the school’s director of basketball administration.
USF faces SMU at home on Wednesday.
UConn travels to Ohio for a game with Cincinnati on Thursday night.