Huskies roll past Wave in final five minutes

Senior+guard+Jay+Hook+attempts+an+acrobatic+layup+during+the+62-53+loss+to+Connecticut+Saturday+in+Devlin+Fieldhouse.+Hook+finished+the+game+with+11+points+and+5+rebounds.%C2%A0

Senior guard Jay Hook attempts an acrobatic layup during the 62-53 loss to Connecticut Saturday in Devlin Fieldhouse. Hook finished the game with 11 points and 5 rebounds. 

Oliver Grigg, Print Sports Editor

The game had the makings of a David vs. Goliath matchup: defending NCAA National Champions Connecticut (13-9, 6-4 American Athletic Conference) against first-year AAC member Tulane (13-10, 4-7 AAC). 

The Wave, riding a four game losing streak and sinking fast in the AAC standings, took the court against UConn Saturday night at Devlin Fieldhouse on national television and in front of 3,548 fans. Tulane played inspired and passionate basketball, but could not halt its losing streak and fell 62-53.

“First off I’d like to say thank you to the crowd,” Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said. “It was the best crowd I’ve seen here since I’ve been here. They made this a great atmosphere tonight. I apologize that we could not come up with a win for them, but hopefully they will keep supporting this team like they did tonight.” 

The Green Wave’s starting guard trio of junior Louis Dabney, sophomore Jonathan Stark, and senior Jay Hook combined for 34 points, but Tulane shot just 32.7 percent from the floor and hit only six three-pointers. Tulane made up for its scoring troubles in the first half by controlling the boards, putting up 7 offensive rebounds to the Huskies’ 0, ultimately out-rebounding UConn 19-11 in the first half.

However, UConn out-hustled the Wave and regained control of the pace of the game in the final minutes. The Wave committed 16 turnovers, which the Huskies converted into 16 points, as well as amassing 22 points off of fast breaks. Tulane only posted up 3 points through fast breaks, and recorded just 3 steals compared to UConn’s 10.

“I have to give credit to UConn,” Conroy said. “They were able to pull this game out when it counted. I do think we showed some signs of improvement even though the final score doesn’t prove it.”

The first 35 minutes was a hard fought back and forth struggle between the Wave and Huskies that included 10 lead changes as well as seven ties.

The Green Wave led 27-24 at halftime, but UConn battled throughout the second half to take the lead in the last five minutes, which included a 7-0 run carried out completely by UConn’s redshirt sophomore guard Rodney Purvis.

Purvis had 17 points for the night which placed him second only after senior guard Ryan Boatright, who led with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Headed by these two power scorers, UConn shot an impressive 50.0 percent from the floor, which at the end of the day, the Wave was unable to contain.

Tulane looks to snap its losing streak when it takes on the Cincinnati Bearcats at 1 p.m. Saturday, February 14 in Ohio.