UConn wraps up homestand with 90-63 rout of Lafayette
By PAT EATON-ROBB
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) UConn coach Dan Hurley says it is games against the teams his Huskies are supposed to beat that can keep him up nights.
Sleep may come a bit easier after Wednesday's 90-63 rout of Lafayette.
Jalen Adams scored 21 points and Tyler Polley added a career-high 16 for the Huskies (7-2), who came out focused after losing a close game on Sunday to Arizona.
Christian Vital had 14 points and Alterique Gilbert dished out a career-high 11 assists.
UConn scored the first eight points and never trailed, but Lafayette was able to stay with the Huskies for much of the first half. An offensive rebound and layup by freshman Sean Good brought the Leopards within four at 18-14.
The Huskies responded by scoring the next 12, with Polley providing the final 10 points in that run. The 6-foot-8 sophomore had 13 points in the half, a point better than his previous career high.
"He spreads the floor and sometimes he can just get us going," Adams said. "I think once he starts hitting 3s it's kind of contagious, then everyone else starts hitting 3s."
Connecticut hit 12 of 28 shots from behind the arc. A pull-up jumper from Adams gave the Huskies their first 20-point lead at 45-25 and UConn went into halftime ahead by 16 points.
A pair of steals by Gilbert led to two quick layups to open the second half and the Huskies stretched the lead from there. The Huskies point guard, who missed most of his first two seasons with shoulder injuries, is struggling with his shot. But, he's found other ways to contribute. The redshirt sophomore scored just two points, but had five rebounds, three steals and zero turnovers to go with his assists on Wednesday.
"He's eventually going to get back to the level of the guy he was, even better because he's more mature," coach Dan Hurley said. "It's just, it's going to take him time to find a rhythm and get comfortable on the court."
Paulius Zalys had 13 points and Dylan Hastings had 11 to lead Lafayette (2-6), which lost its third consecutive game. The Leopards turned the ball over 17 times, leading to 31 UConn points.
"Their pressure at some point, they keep it up, and we broke," said coach Fran O'Hanlon.
A rebound and layup by Brendan Adams gave UConn its first 30-point advantage at 69-39 midway through the second half and Hurley gave the end of the bench some playing time soon after that.
Lafayette: The Leopards shot 37 percent from the floor and made just 5 of 23 shots from 3-point range. They did hit 12 of their 14 free throws. Lafayette came into the game shooting 79 percent from the line.
UConn: The Huskies haven't given their coach much reason to be restless. They are 6-0 this season against mid-majors, winning those games by an average of just over 21 points. They are 1-2 against teams from major conferences, beating Syracuse by seven points at Madison Square Garden and losing to Iowa (91-72) and Arizona (76-72).
"I felt like we let one get away (against Arizona) on Sunday," Hurley said. "But I love the effort. I love how hard these guys are trying."
LEAVING IT ON THE FLOOR
UConn guard Tarin Smith, who played for Hurley's dad in high school, lost a tooth midway through the first half, but stayed in the game and finished with nine points.
"He's from Jersey, he's tough," said Hurley.
BEATING UP ON THE LITTLE GUY
UConn's Josh Carlton finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. The 6-10 sophomore is averaging 12 points in the six games the Huskies have played against mid-majors. But just one point and one rebound in UConn's other three games.
Lafayette: The Leopards play the final of three straight games against Connecticut teams with a game at Quinnipiac on Saturday.
UConn: The Huskies have another big test on Saturday against No. 11 Florida State at the Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
"It's nothing but opportunity for us there on Saturday and it's exciting as heck," Hurley said.
Updated December 5, 2018