Sat, 27 Feb 2021

UConn looks to bounce back vs. Butler

Field Level Media
26 Jan 2021, 04:40 GMT+10

Connecticut's first run in the Top 25 since 2016-17 lasted just two weeks after consecutive losses this past week to St. John's and No. 11 Creighton.

On Tuesday, though, the Huskies can get back in the win column when Butler travels to Storrs, Conn., in search of a third consecutive victory.Connecticut coach Dan Hurley was not happy with his team's effort in Monday's 74-70 home loss to St. John's. He was much happier with the effort Saturday against No. 11 Creighton, but the Huskies (7-3, 4-3 Big East) let the game get away late in a 74-66 defeat.

Creighton used a 14-2 run to take a 62-50 lead with 6:30 left, and the Huskies didn't cut the deficit under six points the rest of the way.

UConn shot 36.5 percent from the floor, feeling the impact of playing without leading scorer James Bouknight (20.3 points per game) for a fourth consecutive contest. Creighton shot 51.1 percent from the floor, but UConn owned an 18-5 advantage on the offensive boards to hang around.

"I thought we were tougher and battled, I thought we gave a pretty good effort for the most part," Hurley said. "We played hard, it's not the same storyline as the St. John's game where we just got out-toughed."

R.J. Cole scored 14 points and added five assists for the Huskies, while freshman Adama Sanogo contributed 13 points.

Cole, the third-leading scorer behind Bouknight and Tyrese Martin (11.0) at 10.9 points per game, has averaged 14.6 points in the past three games to help pick up the slack. Sanogo has scored a combined 25 points over the last two games -- the first two double-figure scoring games of his career.

Butler (5-7, 4-5) had dropped four of five games before rallying from a 13-point deficit with less than eight minutes remaining to dump Creighton 70-66 in overtime on Jan. 16.

The Bulldogs followed that with an impressive 67-53 victory Tuesday at DePaul, jumping to a 35-12 lead late in the first half and limiting the Blue Demons to 33.3-percent shooting, including only 4-for-24 from behind the 3-point line.

Jair Bolden led the way with 21 points and five 3-pointers as the Bulldogs shot a season-best 50.0 percent from the field. Bryce Nze pulled down 14 rebounds, matching his season-high, as the Bulldogs survived a season-high 18 turnovers.

"We've had a good run of practices and I think that play continues to carry over into games," Butler coach LaVall Jordan said. "Winning isn't easy. We got sloppy late after coming out of the gates with really good competitiveness."

Bolden leads the team in scoring at 13.5 points per game, Aaron Thompson chips in 13.1 points and a team-high 4.3 assists, while Nze contributes 9.8 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds.

--Field Level Media

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