UConn survives for 93-82 win over Chaminade in Maui

Connecticut guard Rodney Purvis (15) receives a hand from head coach Kevin Ollie in the second half during an NCAA college basketball game against Chaminade in the Maui Invitational Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, in Lahaina, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Connecticut guard Rodney Purvis (15) receives a hand from head coach Kevin Ollie in the second half during an NCAA college basketball game against Chaminade in the Maui Invitational Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, in Lahaina, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Jalen Adams drove fearlessly to the rim, dished to open teammates, soared in over taller players to snatch rebounds.

The sophomore guard nearly had a triple-double and the Huskies needed nearly every bit of it to hold off a feisty upset-maker.

Adams had 25 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, helping Connecticut survive for a 93-82 victory over Division II Chaminade Tuesday in the Maui Invitational.

Connecticut guard Jalen Adams (2) lays the ball up as Chaminade guard Austin Pope (0) defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Maui Invitational on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, in Lahaina, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Connecticut guard Jalen Adams (2) lays the ball up as Chaminade guard Austin Pope (0) defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Maui Invitational on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, in Lahaina, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

“He did a great job leading our team,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. “He did an unbelievable job finding his teammates, scoring and then when we needed a rebound, he got it.”

UConn (2-3) had all kinds of trouble with Oklahoma State’s pressing defense to open the Maui Invitational, turning it over 18 times — all on Cowboys steals — in a 98-90 loss.

On Day 2, the Huskies had a hard time shaking the deep-shooting Silverswords (2-2), who have had a penchant for knocking off big-name opponents.

UConn shot 61 percent and had a 20-point advantage in the paint and 13 more rebounds, yet weren’t able to pull away from Chaminade until the closing minutes.

Rodney Purvis had 23 points and hit three 3-pointers in the final 4 minutes after going hard to the floor.

Vance Jackson added 16 for UConn, which was without forward Terry Larrier after he injured his left knee against Oklahoma State in the tournament opener.

“Everybody was just hungry and wanted to get back and prove we can win and compete in this tournament,” said Adams, who made 12 of 17 shots. “We definitely didn’t come down here to lose.”

Chaminade has a certain mystique around it in Maui, thanks to a long list of upset victories.

The Silverswords were blown out by No. 4 North Carolina in their Maui opener, but used their perimeter shooting to stretch the Huskies on defense and keep them from pulling away.

Rohndell Goodwin had 20 points, Sam Daly and Kiran Shastri had 19 each for Chaminade, which made 14 of 32 from 3-point range.

“We were feeling it for a while today,” Shastri said.

The Silverswords hit 6 of 10 shots to lead 18-13 and, unlike the night, pushed back when a bigger team tried to lean on them.

Chaminade trailed by seven, but tied the game at 39-all late in the first half on a layup by Austin Pope and Goodwin’s short jumper after a turnover on the inbound play.

The Silverswords hit 9 of 17 from 3-point range in the first half and were tied with the Huskies at 45-all.

Adams carried UConn in the opening 20 minutes with 15 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

The Silverswords continued to go right at the Huskies in the second half, dropping in long-range 3-pointers and driving fearlessly to the rim to stay within 61-60 midway through.

UConn finally started to gain some separation as the Silverswords started missing shots they had been making all day.

The Huskies stretched their lead to 80-71 on Purvis’ corner 3-pointer with 5½ minutes left and added three more to close the Silverswords out.

“Those late 3-pointers were the difference in the game,” Chaminade coach Eric Bovaird said.

BIG PICTURE

UConn: The Huskies survived the big upset, yet not being able to shake a Division II opponent is not a good sign. Adams has been stellar in Maui, but the Huskies will need more than just him for the fifth-place game and beyond.

Chaminade: The Silverswords have had their share of upsets in the Maui Invitational and nearly pulled off another. Keeping up with a big-time program like UConn should do nothing but build confidence for the Silverswords the rest of the season.

UP NEXT

UConn: Faces No. 13 Oregon in the fifth-place game.

Chaminade: Plays in the seventh-place game against Tennessee.