STORRS, Conn. - University of Connecticut freshman center Amida Brimah (Accra, Ghana) scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds, both career highs, as UConn recorded its first-ever American Athletic Conference victory with an 84-61 victory over Central Florida Saturday night in front of a crowd of 9,561 at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies improve to 13-3 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
UConn senior guard Shabazz Napier (Roxbury, Mass.) scored 14 points, while junior forward DeAndre Daniels (Los Angeles, Calif.) added 13 points of his own. Junior guard Ryan Boatright (Aurora, Ill.) scored 11 points to join them in double figures as UConn (13-3, 1-2) won its second consecutive game. The Huskies shot 47 percent and outrebounded UCF 50-34.
Isaiah Sykes led UCF (9-5, 1-2) with 17 points but was held in check by the Huskies most of the game. Sykes entered the game averaging 15 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
Brimah made 8 of 10 shots from the field and was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. He also blocked five shots. The Huskies blocked a season-high 14 shots as a team.
Brimah scored six points, including a dunk off a Daniels assist, during a 10-0 run early in the game that gave UConn a 20-12 lead. The Knights used a zone defense to stifle the Huskies temporarily and pulled within 22-21 after an 8-0 run of their own. But Brimah's final basket of the first half, a put-back with 5:20 left, gave UConn a 28-22 lead and the Huskies closed out the first half with a 35-24 lead.
UCF quickly cut UConn's lead to 36-32 early in the second half and the Knights closed within 45-39 on a 3-pointer by Matt Williams. But a driving layup by Boatright with 11:59 remaining got the Huskies back on track and two dunks by Brimah gave UConn a 67-51 lead with five minutes to play.
The Huskies entered the game ranked last in the American in rebounding but held a 24-15 advantage on the boards in the first half against the conference's top-rebounding team. UCF entered the game averaging 40.9 rebounds a game, compared with UConn's 34.9.
Daniels led the effort on the boards but was aided by Brimah, who came off the bench for four rebounds. Brimah was 5-for-5 from the floor in just eight minutes of play before halftime and led all scorers with 10 points. He also had three blocked shots.
UConn, which won or shared 10 regular season championships as a member of the Big East Conference, had not started 0-2 in league play since the 1989-90 season. The Huskies fell out of the national polls for the first time this season after consecutive conference road losses at Houston and SMU, but bounced back with a 61-56 victory over Harvard in Storrs on Wednesday.
The Huskies are now 4-1 all-time against UCF. The Knights won the previous meeting 68-63 in the 2011 Battle 4 Atlantis. UCF had won six of seven games before visiting Storrs. The Knights are now 1-3 away from home this season.
UConn returns to the court Thursday to face No. 24 Memphis in another conference match-up. The game tips off at 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN and heard on the UConn IMG Radio Network.