Another win “bit the dust” when UConn defeated USF 58-44 on 80s night at the Sun Dome.
In other words, USF (7-9, 1-1) couldn’t “push it real good” in front of a season-high crowd of 6,128 on Tuesday.
The Bulls jumped out to an 11-4 lead against the defending champion Huskies (8-5, 1-1) before allowing a 9-0 run to end the half.
USF led for 13:57 compared to UConn’s 2:35.
“We know that we have potential,” sophomore forward Chris Perry said. “We showed it in flashes. We have to be more consistent and play harder all the time.”
UConn blew open the second half with a 12-2 run, putting the Huskies up 40-26 with 14:52 remaining.
Senior guard Corey Allen Jr., who scored a team-high 12 points, said the Bulls’ energy changed between the halves.
“We came out flat in the second half,” Allen said. “They just came out hot.”
UConn coach Kevin Ollie credited the Huskies’ surge partly to his bench players providing a spark.
“It was like we were sleepwalking out there in the first half,” Ollie said. “Couldn’t make a shot, and then when I inserted those guys, the tempo, the rhythm of the game picked up.”
The Huskies outscored the Bulls 17-12 in bench points, making it difficult for USF to keep up.
“We got away from the game plan,” coach Orlando Antigua said. “Took a couple quick shots, made a couple turnovers. We have to give (the Huskies) credit, defensively. They ramped up their energy. We gave them too many second opportunities at the end of that first half.”
In the first half, UConn outscored USF 14-2 in second-chance points. The Bulls were outscored 18-7 in total.
Two Huskies scored in double figures. Amida Brimah had 13 points with six blocks, while Ryan Boatright finished with 10.
Though the Bulls couldn’t keep up with the Huskies, Antigua can take away positives from the team’s first half play.
“We’re going to look at (film) and try to find those points that we can capitalize on and show them what it looks like, what it feels like,” Antigua said. “Now you have to continue to do that for every possession for a full 40 minutes. You have to expend a lot of energy to compete against good teams, but that’s what we’re here to do.”
The Bulls continue conference play in New Orleans against Tulane (11-3, 2-0) on Sunday at 3 p.m.