Jalen Adams scores 23, UConn knocks off Houston, 74-65 in AAC quarters

Connecticut's Christian Vital gestures after making a basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Houston in the American Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals, Friday, March 10, 2017, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

HARTFORD, Conn. — Jalen Adams scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half to lead sixth-seeded UConn over No. 3 Cincinnati 74-63 on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

Rodney Purvis added 18 points, while freshmen Christian Vital and Vance Jackson each had 12 for the Huskies (16-16), who have won two straight after limping into the postseason with four losses. The Huskies lost to Houston twice in the regular season and were 0-6 against the top-three teams in the conference.

Rob Gray Jr. scored 25 points for the Cougars (21-10), Galen Robinson Jr. added 17 and Damyean Dotson 15.

The Cougars cut the deficit to two several times in the second half, but after Davis made it 44-42 with 13:14, they would not get any closer. Adams started a 7-0 run with a 3-pointer that opened the game back up for the Huskies, who shot 63 percent (12 for 19) in the half.

UConn shot 54.5 percent for the game and was 8 for 17 on 3-pointers. Houston hit 41.3 percent of its shots and was 6 for 19 on 3-pointers.

After falling being 20-9, the Huskies stormed back in the final 10 minutes of the first half to lead 35-26. Jackson scored seven points in the comeback and UConn’s defense held Houston without a field goal in the final 5:57 of the half.

Vital had 10 first-half points on 4-for-5 shooting, while Jackson was 3 for 3. The Huskies, who fell behind early and trailed 20-9 at one point, were also 7 of 9 from the foul line.

BIG PICTURE

Houston: The Cougars have been knocked out in back-to-back years in the quarterfinals as the No. 2 and 3 seed, respectively.

UConn: The Huskies, who have three players out for the season with injuries, have knocked Cincinnati out of the conference tournament three straight years. UConn has played in all three AAC finals.

UP NEXT

Houston exits in the quarterfinals for the third time in four years, but remains in line for a bid in the NIT.

UConn won its second straight and will play No. 2 Cincinnati in the semifinals. The Bearcats swept the regular-season series.

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