Jan. 3, 2014
STORRS, Conn. - After opening American Athletic Conference play on Tuesday, the No. 17 University of Connecticut men's basketball team continues play against its conference foes when its travels to SMU for a showdown set for Saturday, Jan. 4th at 2 p.m. ET. The game can be seen on ESPNU and will be broadcasted live on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.
The Huskies (11-2) are coming off a 75-71 loss against Houston despite a valiant second half effort from senior guard Shabazz Napier, who connected for 25 of his game-high 27 points in the final 20 minutes. The Huskies erased an 18-point first half deficit, aided by five second-half three-pointers, but were unable to stop the Cougars offensive attack, surrendering 23 points to TaShawn Thomas.
The Huskies look to get back on track against an SMU team that they haven't met on the hardwood in over 48 years. In the first and only meeting in the 1965-66 season, the Mustangs edged out the Huskies, 80-68, in Dallas. Saturday's game will be played in the newly-refurbished Moody Coliseum.
This season, under the direction of Hall of Fame head coach Larry Brown, the Mustangs have jumped out to a 10-3 record (0-1 The American). The Mustang offense is a balanced attack as it features eight players who average at least five points per game. SMU's leading scorer is guard Nic Moore who contributes 13.4 ppg and 4.6 apg and is shooting .518 from the field.
Saturday's tilt will feature two of the best defensive teams in The American, as Brown's squad has held 11 of their 13 opponents to a sub-40 shooting percentage. The Huskies are holding opponents to a .388 overall shooting percentage and own an impressive 85-34 edge in blocked shots.
UConn has bounced back to losses well under second-year head coach Kevin Ollie. Following its first loss this season, the Huskies responded with an 82-70 victory on the road against Washington. Last season, the Huskies dropped their first conference battle but finished the season with a 10-8 record in conference play.