No. 18 UConn survives Michigan rally in 74-60 win in Bahamas
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) Daniel Hamilton and UConn put together a solid all-around performance, and Michigan was unable to keep up with the talented Huskies.
Hamilton had 16 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, and No. 18 Connecticut beat the Wolverines 74-60 on Wednesday night in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
The Huskies (4-0) dominated most of the second half, leading by as many as 19. The lead dissipated down the stretch, but they were able to get some clutch baskets in the final minutes.
UConn coach Kevin Ollie said discipline was important for his team against the feisty Wolverines.
''We had to game plan this one out there - the whole night,'' he said. ''We had our principles and they stayed solid the whole night. We just had contributions from every area. ... I thought our preparation was wonderful and guys really executed the game plan.''
Shonn Miller and Rodney Purvis each had 13 points for the Huskies.
''We just take what the defense gives us,'' Purvis said. ''We have several different options, so it's kind of hard to focus on one guy.''
Caris LeVert led Michigan with 21 points. The Wolverines shot 32 percent from the field.
The Wolverines (2-2) got as close as eight late, but couldn't sting together enough offense. They also had few answers for Connecticut's frontcourt.
After trailing for most of the half, Michigan closed to 63-55 on a basket by LeVert with less than four minutes to play. Coming out of a timeout, Hamilton got free and drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
Following a Michigan miss on the other end, Connecticut was fouled and Miller made two free throws to push the lead up to 13.
The Huskies also had their way on the boards, building a 42-31 advantage on the glass.
Michigan jumped out to a quick first-half lead, but UConn responded with a 19-4 spurt to take control. Michigan coach John Beilein said the run was the result of self-inflicted wounds.
''We took some really bad shots and sort of shot ourselves out of the game there in that little span, where we gotta know what is a really good shot, and not the first one that we look at,'' he said.
Michigan: The Wolverines shot just 21 percent (6 for 25) from the field in the first half.
UConn: The Huskies were 5 for 11 from 3-point line in the first half.
BIG EAST REUNION
It will be a reunion of sorts Thursday when the Huskies face Syracuse in the semifinals. Though he was young, Purvis does have a sense of some of the wild history the former Big East rivals share.
''I remember being in high school when they went into (six) overtimes (in 2009),'' he said. ''My mom let me stay up and watch that game. So I think to be a part of that game, it should be really good.''
Beilein said he isn't stressing too much about the early deficiencies his team is showing through their first four games.
''It doesn't frustrate me one bit,'' he said. ''I trust these guys. I just wish our learning curve was faster. But for some reason with this team it edges along, and edges along. We'll just keep working with them without stopping.''
Michigan faces Charlotte in the consolation bracket.
Connecticut plays Syracuse in Thursday's semifinals.