UConn thrashes South Florida, 81-51, to earn 20th victory

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — UConn reached 20 wins this season with an impressive road victory.

Rodney Purvis scored 18 points and Shonn Miller had 16 as Connecticut beat South Florida 81-51 on Thursday night.

Daniel Hamilton 3
Connecticut’s Daniel Hamilton (5) leaps for a layup by South Florida’s Ruben Guerrero (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016 in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

“I thought the guys shared the basketball and played together,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. “They had a synergy about themselves. That’s what we want to continue.”

The Huskies (20-8, 10-5 American) also got 12 points from Jalen Adams. Amida Brimah chipped in 10.

UConn had assists on 21 of its 32 baskets, including nine by Daniel Hamilton.

“I just like the fact that we were playing unselfish,” Purvis said. “It shows that we’re sharing the ball, and that’s something we’re putting a lot of emphasis on in practice, and it’s showing up in the game.”

The Huskies held USF to 28 percent (14 for 50) shooting.

“I thought our defensive execution was great,” Ollie said. “We’ve been slacking in that area.”

Jaleel Cousins had 11 points, and Jahmal McMurray and Nehemias Morillo added 10 points each for South Florida (7-22, 4-12), which had a two-game conference winning streak end. USF hasn’t won three conference games in a row since 2012.

“Certainly didn’t look like the team that had been playing the last few games,” USF coach Orlando Antigua said. “It was very uncharacteristic of the way we’ve been playing, the way we started out the game.”

UConn extended a 15-point halftime advantage to 43-16 four minutes into the second half.

Sterling Gibbs hit a 3, and Brimah had a slam and rebound basket as the Huskies put together a 15-3 run.

Miller scored 12 of his points in the second half.

Brimah and Gibbs had six points apiece as UConn led 28-13 at halftime.

Gibbs finished with nine points.

Brimah had consecutive dunks to put UConn up 21-11 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first half. Fast-break baskets by Purvis and Hamilton, and Gibbs’ 3-pointer made it 28-11 two minutes before the break.

South Florida shot just 15.4 percent (4 for 26) during the opening 20 minutes. The Bulls’ first three field goals came from 3-point range. McMurray hit USF’s first two-point basket 31 seconds before halftime.

“We still have to play better, but offensively, defensively, we played a really complete game,” Miller said. “We’ve just got to keep building on it.”

___

TIP-INS

UConn: The Huskies lead the all-time series 16-2. … UConn outscored USF 18-2 in the paint during the first half and 42-20 overall. .., The Huskies outrebounded USF 37-27.

South Florida: USF had stretches of 12 and nine missed shots in a row during the first half. … McMurray has scored in double digits in each of his last 21 games.

UP NEXT

UConn: The Huskies host Houston Sunday.

South Florida: The Bulls play their home conference finale Wednesday night against East Carolina.

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