HARTFORD, Conn. - The sixth-seeded UConn men's basketball team (19-13) is set to face No. 2 seed Tulsa (22-9) in the American Athletic Semifinals on Saturday (5 p.m. ET) at the XL Center. The game can be seen on ESPN2, and it will also be broadcasted live by the UConn IMG Radio Network.
Saturday's contest will be UConn's 10th game in Hartford this season. Connecticut boasts a record of 8-1 in its previous nine games at the XL Center, and the Huskies are 4-2 in neutral games on the year. UConn boasts an all-time record of 11-3 in conference semifinal games, dating back to the 1989-1990 season.
Connecticut's Ryan Boatright (Aurora, Ill.) was the hero in the quarterfinal round against Cincinnati, as the senior captain connected on a step-back 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds left in the game. Boatright finished with a game-high 18 points, while redshirt sophomore guard Rodney Purvis (Raleigh, N.C.) added 17 points on 7-15 shooting. Freshman guard Daniel Hamilton (Los Angeles, Calif.) nearly recorded his sixth career double-double in the win, finishing with nine points and a team-high eight boards.
The Huskies caught fire from the behind the arc after converting just three of their first 18 3-point attempts. UConn knocked down eight of its final 12 shots from downtown, making six straight at one point during the second half. Friday's win was just the second victory for Connecticut in a game decided by four points or less. The Huskies entered the contest 1-5 in those situations.
The Golden Hurricane moved past Houston, 59-51, in the American Quarterfinals behind 24 combined points from guards Shaquille Harrison and James Woodard. Both Tulsa standouts average double-figures on the year, while guard Rashad Smith ranks third on the team in scoring (8.6) and first in rebounding (6.1). The Golden Hurricane sport a record of 2-1 in neutral games this season, and they have gone 8-4 in road games.
In league play this season, Tulsa ranked second in scoring defense (58.6) and fourth in scoring offense (64.1). The American Athletic newcomer has shot 42.2 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from the 3-point line overall this season.
UConn and Tulsa split their two games this season, with each team winning on its home court. The Huskies cruised past the Golden Hurricane, 70-45, when the two met up in Hartford last month (Feb. 12). UConn is 2-1 all-time against Tulsa in a series that dates back to 1978.
The winner of Connecticut and Tulsa will face either top-seeded SMU or No. 4 seed Temple in the American Athletic Finals on Sunday. That game, which tips off at 3:15 p.m., can be seen on ESPN.
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