No. 13 Oregon beats UConn 79-69 for fifth in Maui

Oregon guard Payton Pritchard (3) drives around Connecticut guard Christian Vital (1) in the first half during an NCAA college basketball game in the Maui Invitational Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, in Lahaina, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Oregon guard Payton Pritchard (3) drives around Connecticut guard Christian Vital (1) in the first half during an NCAA college basketball game in the Maui Invitational Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, in Lahaina, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Oregon opened the Maui Invitational with a disappointing loss, won in overtime and closed with a click-on-all-cylinders win.

Winning the tournament was the goal, but getting better with each game wasn’t a bad consolation.

Chris Boucher scored 21 points, Tyler Dorsey added 19 and No. 13 Oregon beat Connecticut 79-69 on Wednesday in the fifth-place game of the Maui Invitational.

“Obviously, we still have a lot of stuff we need to work on offensively and defensively, but I think we took a step,” said Oregon forward Jordan Bell, who had 12 points. “I think every game we got a little better.”

Oregon (4-2) lost its opener to Georgetown, but bounced back with an overtime victory over Tennessee on Dillon Brooks’ long 3-pointer. The Ducks wanted to get off to a fast start in their Maui finale and did just that, racing to a 15-point lead in the opening 4 1/2 minutes.

UConn (2-4) chipped into the lead by halftime, but the Ducks started flying again, building the lead back up to 17.

Dylan Ennis added 15 points for Oregon, which shot 54 percent and made 9 of 21 from 3-point range.

Jalen Adams led the Huskies with 27 points and Rodney Purvis added 13.

“Comes down to fundamentals: play defense and execute on offense,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. “I don’t know what else to say. Energy and you’ve got to play defense. They made shots and we didn’t make shots. Simple game. There’s no secret to it.”

The Ducks attacked the Huskies from the opening tip, scoring the game’s first 10 points, racing out to an 18-point lead.

Ollie called a timeout 41 seconds into the game and Adams, the Huskies’ leading scorer, headed to the bench at 17:03 after picking up his second foul.

“I don’t think we were just playing with the intensity we should have,” Adams said. “We didn’t match their intensity or their energy and I think we have to work on that. We’ve got to build on that.”

Oregon pushed the lead to 21, but the Huskies came roaring back.

UConn started hitting shots it was missing earlier, while the Ducks went more than 8 minutes without a field goal, trimming the lead to 39-28 by halftime.

Oregon revved up again to start the second half, hitting 5 of its first 7 shots to push the lead to 53-34.

UConn had one more run. The Huskies whittled away at the lead and got it down to eight with 3 minutes left, but couldn’t make up any more ground.

“I just thought our energy level today was much better because of the ball movement and getting some shots down,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said.

BIG PICTURE

Oregon finished the Maui Invitational with a flourish after a dud of a start. The Ducks should get better as Brooks, their leader, builds up stamina in his return from offseason foot surgery.

UConn’s young team is still trying to gel. The Huskies struggled against Oklahoma State’s pressure in the opener, Chaminade’s perimeter shooting the next game and the Ducks’ flock of athletes in the finale.

BROOKS’ PROGRESSION

Brooks was limited to eight points in 13 minutes in Oregon’s opener against Georgetown, his first game back since offseason foot surgery.

The preseason All-America was back to his Duck-leading role against Tennessee in the second round, scoring 17 points and hitting the game-winning 3-pointer with 22 seconds left in overtime.

Brooks was limited to nine points in 18 minutes Wednesday, but did all the little things the Ducks need, like playing defense, distributing the ball — five assists — and providing leadership.

LARRIER OUT

UConn announced Wednesday that sophomore forward Terry Larrier will miss the rest of the season with a torn left ACL.

Larrier was injured Monday night against Oklahoma State while driving to the basket. He’s expected to be out eight months.

UConn was expecting a big contribution from the 6-foot-8 Larrier, who sat out last season after transferring from Virginia Commonwealth.

UP NEXT

UConn hosts Boston University on Nov. 30.

Oregon hosts Boise State on Monday.

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