By Steven Tucker
Rodney Purvis led Connecticut with a season-high 28 points as the No. 25 UConn Huskies (7-3) put away UMass-Lowell (4-7) Sunday evening in Hartford.
Sterling Gibbs (15), Omar Calhoun (14), Daniel Hamilton (12), Shonn Miller (10) finished in double-figures against the River Hawks as well. Hamilton also added 11 rebounds and seven assists to earn his fourth double-double of the season.
The River Hawks also had four players reach double figures. Jahad Thomas led the team with 19, Josh Gantz followed with 18, and both Isaac White and Matt Harris registered 11-point performances against the Huskies.
Sunday marked the first ever meeting between the two teams, and UMass Lowell, in just its third season as a Division I program, worked to make the best of its opportunity against the Huskies.
The River Hawks shot 50 percent for the game but UConn hit 64 percent of their shots. The Huskies also held a slight advantage on the glass, out-rebounding UMass-Lowell 30-18.
They won the battle of the boards even without starting center Amida Brimah, who suffered an injury against Ohio State. Brimah’s absence would prove to be costly on the defensive side of the ball for UConn.
After Hamilton found Miller for an alley-oop dunk 10 seconds into the game, Ryan Jones responded for the River Hawks with a layup less than a minute later.
UConn wouldn’t regain the lead for another 10 minutes, as the River Hawks would carry as much as a seven-point advantage over the Huskies.
With 8:41 remaining in the first half, a layup by Phillip Nolan put UConn up 26-25, and they wouldn’t relinquish the lead for the rest of the game.
The River Hawks, however, hung around by keeping the deficit within single-digits for the majority of the game. Eight days after beating Ohio State by 20, the Huskies’ led briefly by 14 Sunday night.
UConn will be back in action Wednesday afternoon, as they face in-state rival Central Connecticut State University at 12:30 in Hartford.
WHUS will have full coverage of the matinee matchup.
(Image credit: here)