Feb. 09, 2014
ORLANDO, Fla. - University of Connecticut guards Lasan Kromah (Greenbelt, Md.) and Shabazz Napier (Roxbury, Mass.) each had 17 points and seven rebounds, and No. 22 UConn easily defeated Central Florida 75-55 on Sunday night. The Huskies improve to 18-5 overall and 6-4 in conference play with the win.
Isaiah Sykes led UCF with 17 points and reserve Justin McBride added 13, all in the second half. The Knights, who have lost eight straight, didn't have another player in double figures after shooting just 39.2 percent from the floor.
UConn had 9-0 and 10-0 runs in the first half, helping the Huskies build a 41-24 halftime advantage.
McBride, who entered the game with just under 15 minutes to go and UCF trailing 47-29, scored 11 points in less than 7 minutes. When teammate Kasey Wilson hit a 3-pointer with 7:20 to play, the Knights had closed the gap to 57-49, but that was as close as they got.
UConn responded quickly to the challenge, getting a score from sophomore forward Phillip Nolan (Milwaukee, Wis.) and back-to-back steals from Napier, who converted them into a layup and two free throws to boost Connecticut's lead back up to 63-49.
Nolan hit all five of his shots from the field and finished with 10 points.
UCF stayed with Connecticut for the first 10 minutes, mostly because of Sykes. The 6-foot-6 senior had 10 points, including a three-point play that tied the score at 15. Matt Williams hit a 3-pointer on the next possession to give UCF an 18-17 lead, but it was all Connecticut from there.
Daniels, Napier, Kromah and Boatright each scored during a 9-0 that made it 26-18 and demonstrated the Huskies' balance on offense.
Connecticut's defense, meanwhile, shut out Sykes for the rest of the half and limited UCF to 34.6 percent shooting (9 of 26) while extending the lead to 41-24.
The teams traded baskets after halftime until McBride lumbered onto the court. The 6-foot-10, 310-pound center was too much for Connecticut's inside players to handle, but his lack of conditioning showed. He has played only four games since returning two weeks ago from a knee injury that had kept him out all season.
McBride scored his last basket on a dunk to cut the deficit to 12, but UCF got no closer the rest of the game. UConn outscored the Knights 12-4 the rest of the way.
The Huskies return to action Wednesday when they host South Florida at the XL Center in Hartford. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game can be seen on ESPN 2 and heard on the UConn IMG Radio Network.
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