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UConn Set For NIT Opener Against Arizona State

Rodney Purvis tallied a game-high 29 points in Sunday's American Athletic Championship.
March 15, 2015

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STORRS --- The UConn men's basketball team, fresh off its appearance in the American Athletic Conference Championship finals, has accepted an at-large bid to continue its postseason in the National Invitation Tournament.

The Huskies, 20-14, are a No. 4 seed in the 32-team NIT field and will play host to Arizona State out of the Pac-12 on Wednesday, March 18, at 7 p.m. at Gampel Pavilion. The game will be televised on ESPN2, and it can also be heard live on the UConn IMG Radio Network.

Tickets for Wednesday night's first round game, which can be purchased HEREare $10 apiece and $4 for UConn students.

Patrons have the ability to select their seats and print tickets at home. Tickets can also be purchased by visiting the UConn Ticket Office in Storrs or by calling the UConn Ticket Office at 1-877-AT-UCONN from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

UConn students can purchase tickets at the box office in Storrs, including game night.



Parking at the North and South Garages will be available for $5 on Wednesday night, which is paid upon entry to the garage.

It will be UConn's 13
thappearance in the NIT and its first since 2010. The Huskies have an overall NIT record of 15-11, including an NIT Championship in 1988 under Hall of Fame coachJim Calhoun.

UConn fell to SMU, 62-54, in the American Athletic Championship Sunday at the XL Center after a thrilling run of three victories in three days over USF, Cincinnati and Tulsa to reach the title game against the Mustangs. Redshirt sophomore guard Rodney Purvis (Raleigh, N.C.) tallied a career-high 29 points in the loss, while freshman guard Daniel Hamilton (Los Angeles, Calf.) recorded his ninth-career double-digit rebound game, finishing with 10 boards.

The Huskies held the Mustangs to just 24.0 percent shooting in the second half, but SMU won the battle down low, ending the game with a 43-30 rebound advantage. SMU knocked down 25 of its 31 free throw attempts, while Connecticut finished the contest just 32.7 percent from the floor. With the loss, UConn fell to 1-5 against ranked opponents this season and 7-5 all-time in Conference Championships.

Arizona State, 17-15 overall, finished 9-9 in the Pac-12, tied with Stanford for fifth place. The Sun Devils, out of Tempe, lost to USC, 67-64, in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. It is also their 13th appearance in the NIT and they have an overall record of 6-12. Coached by Herb Sendek, the Sun Devils made their last NIT appearance in 2013.

Arizona State is led by 6-5 senior Shaquielle McKissic, averaging 12.0 points per game, while 6-6 sophomore Savon Goodman (11.0) and 6-4 junior Gerry Blakes (10.9) are also double-figure scorers.

UConn, which went 4-3 in Storrs this season, boasts a mark of 2-1 all-time against the Sun Devils in a series that dates back to 1982. Connecticut's last win over the Sun Devils came in a Preseason Tournament at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 28, 1997.

The winner of Wednesday's first-round game will advance to the NIT round of 16, facing the winner of the game between No. 1 seed Richmond, 19-13, out of the Atlantic 10 and No. 8 seed St. Francis of Brooklyn, 23-11, from the Northeast Conference. The date and time and location of the second-round game are to be determined.

Two other members of the American Athletic Conference received NIT at-large bids Sunday night. Temple is a No. 1 seed and will face No. 8 seed Bucknell in a first-round game, while Tulsa received a No. 2 seed and will meet No. 7 seed William & Mary in the first round.

This year's NIT will use two experimental rules in all games. The 35-second shot clock will be reduced to 30 seconds and the restricted arc in the lane will be widened from three feet to four feet.

The NIT semifinals are schedule for March 31 and the championship finals are on April 2, both at Madison Square Garden.