Tigers snap losing streak behind Davenport’s 26 points
MEMPHIS, Tenn. –Kyvon Davenport scored 26 points, Tyler Harris and Jeremiah Martin added 12 each and Memphis held off a late push to defeat UConn 78-71 on Sunday.
Tyler Polley led the Huskies (13-11, 4-7 American Athletic Conference) with 20 points, while Sidney Wilson finished with 16. Christian Vital and Tarin Smith added 13 apiece for UConn, which lost its second straight and third in the last four.
The Huskies were playing their first game since leading-scorer Jalen Adams (17 points per game) suffered a left knee injury that will keep him out of action for 4-6 weeks.
UConn trailed by 10 with less than three minutes to go and started its final push. A couple of dunks and a 3-pointer from Smith had the Huskies within 72-68, but UConn never got closer as Memphis converted all four of its free throws in the closing 30 seconds.
Memphis (14-10, 6-5) came out of the locker room and crafted a 14-6 run, enjoying a 15-point lead as the Huskies struggled controlling the ball _ committing a half-dozen turnovers in the first eight minutes of the second half.
Memphis kept the comfortable lead until the final rally by UConn.
UConn spent much of the first half staring at a double-digit deficit because of poor shooting. Midway through the half, the Huskies were 4 of 15 from the field as Memphis built the lead to as many as 14.
But the Huskies were able to slice into the Memphis lead in the closing minutes of the half. A dunk by Sidney Wilson cut the Tiger lead to 37-30 at the break.
UConn dealt with shooting problems throughout the half ending at 37 percent, including only 3 of 12 from outside the arc. While Memphis started fast, connecting on 10 of its first 19 shots, but lost momentum making only three of its final 10 in the half allowing UConn to get back in the game.
It didn’t take long for Memphis to extend the lead back to double digits. The Tigers opened the second half with seven straight points. A trio of UConn turnovers contributed to the Memphis run and Huskies coach Dan Hurley called timeout near the 18-minute mark in hopes of stalling the rally.
UConn: Playing without Adams, the Huskies got a career-high performance from Polley, a sophomore, who was 7 of 12 from the field with four 3-pointers. Only seven Huskies played and 40 percent shooting, along with 18 turnovers, were not enough to overcome the big leads Memphis built.
Memphis: Davenport’s 26 points came on 9-of-13 shooting, but Memphis couldn’t keep UConn off the boards. The Huskies outrebounded the Tigers 37-27, including 16 offensive rebounds.
UConn: Entertain No. 25 Houston on Thursday.
Memphis: Travels to East Carolina to face on Wednesday.