UConn gets rare league road win, 60-49 over East Carolina
GREENBVILLE, N.C. (AP) UConn's game at East Carolina on Wednesday played out much like the Feb. 4th meeting between the teams in Storrs, Connecticut.
That was just fine with the Huskies.
Ryan Boatright scored 16 points and freshman Daniel Hamilton grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds to lead UConn to a 60-49 victory over the Pirates, who led at halftime of both games against the defending national champions before losing by double figures in each.
Amida Brimah and Rodney Purvis each had 12 points for the Huskies (16-11, 9-6 American Athletic Conference), who used a 14-2 run to start the second half and swept the season series against ECU (12-16, 5-10). Hamilton added nine points and a game-high five assists.
''I think all of our guys locked in and switched and talked and just made stops,'' Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie said of his team's second half performance. ''(The Pirates were) 3 for 20 from the 3-point line and I think a lot of those were contested. Our guys were running out and challenging their shots.''
UConn won its first road game since a 62-53 victory at Tulane on Feb. 7th and recorded its third league win away from home this season.
Purvis, a redshirt sophomore who was born in nearby Plymouth, North Carolina, and played his freshman season at N.C. State, had a large contingent of family and friends in attendance, who watched him go 1 of 6 from the field in the first half.
He hit three 3-pointers after halftime to provide a spark for the Huskies and silenced some East Carolina fans who started an ''overrated'' chant during Purvis' first half struggles.
''I'm from this area so I expected that,'' Purvis said. ''I was just happy I got the chance to come down and play here. . It was an emotional game for me, but I was happy we were able to pull the game out.''
Marshall Guilmette scored 13 points to lead the Pirates, who were hosting a defending national champion for the first time. B.J. Tyson added 11 for ECU, which shot just 32.2 percent from the field.
Brimah's dunk capped the Huskies' game-changing run and made it 38-35 UConn with 12:03 left in the game.
ECU's Lance Tejada hit a 3 to tie the game at the 11:31 mark, but Purvis answered with a 3-pointer to put UConn back on top for good, 41-38.
The Huskies took their biggest lead on two Boatright free throws that completed the scoring with 1:05 left to play.
ECU coach Jeff Lebo credited Brimah, a 7-foot sophomore who blocked six shots before fouling out with 1:54 left to play, for disrupting their offense in the second half.
''The difference maker was the big guy in the middle,'' Lebo said. ''He totally affected the game in all areas. . He's as good a shot blocker as I've seen.''
In the first half, the Pirates used a 15-3 run to take a 25-17 lead. Tyson hit consecutive layups in the final minute, including a driving score past Boatright with two ticks left to give ECU a 33-24 lead at halftime.
UConn: Boatright had three 3-pointers in the first half, one more than East Carolina had as a team. . It was UConn's first-ever trip to Greenville. . The Huskies lead the all-time series, which resumed this season for the first time since 1978, 5-1.
ECU: Terry Whisnant had a career-high nine rebounds. . The crowd of 6,856 was the largest of the season for the Pirates. . ECU fell to 0-4 all-time against defending national champs.
UConn hosts SMU on Sunday.
East Carolina visits Central Florida on Saturday.