HARTFORD, Conn. – The UConn men’s basketball team (16-11, 9-6 American) is set to host No. 21 SMU (23-5, 14-2 American) on Sunday afternoon (2 p.m.) at the XL Center in Hartford. The game will be broadcasted on CBS, and it can also be heard live on the UConn IMG Radio Network. The Huskies, winners of six straight home games, have won five of their six games in Hartford this season. SMU enters Sunday’s contest with a mark of 8-3 in road games on the year.
Three UConn players finished in double-figures to lead the Huskies to a 60-49 win on the road over conference newcomer East Carolina on Wednesday. Senior guard Ryan Boatright (Aurora, Ill.) led all scorers with 16 points, while freshman guard Daniel Hamilton (Los Angeles, Calif.) pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds. Hamilton’s 17 boards were the most in a game for a UConn player since Alex Oriakhi recorded 19 rebounds against DePaul on March 9, 2011.
The Pirates led, 33-24, at halftime before the Husky defense responded out the break, holding ECU to just 16 points and 19.4 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes. Both were season-low opponents for UConn opponents, and the Huskies allowed just one East Carolina 3-pointer in the second half. Connecticut converted 13 of its 16 free throw attempts, and UConn finished the game with a 39-35 rebound advantage.
The Mustangs come into this weekend’s match-up on a five-game winning streak. SMU has won 21 of its last 23 games after starting the year 2-3, and the Mustangs currently boast a league-best scoring margin of 10.5. Four SMU players average double-figures on the year, including guard Nic Moore who ranks third in the conference with 14.8 points a contest. Senior center Yanick Moreira ranks second on the team in scoring (11.7) to go along with a team-best 6.7 rebounds a game.
SMU sports the top scoring offense (67.3 points/game) and the second-best scoring defense (56.6) in American Athletic play, and the Mustangs’ 49.0 shooting percentage against conference opponents also ranks first in the league. Cincinnati stands as the only conference team to defeat SMU, which has won all seven of its previous road games. Overall, the Mustangs have conceded 59.0 points per contest this season, good for the 20th-best mark among Division I schools.
UConn fell to the Mustangs, 73-55, earlier this month (Feb. 14) despite a game-high 19 points from Boatright. The Huskies are winless (0-4) all-time against SMU, with just one of their previous four losses coming at home.
After Sunday, UConn will host Memphis on Thursday night for Connecticut’s Senior Night. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m., and the game can be seen on ESPN2.
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