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Vital, Bouknight lead UConn to 64-61 win over Memphis

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Coach Dan Hurley fought back tears as he described the high price his UConn Huskies paid during Sunday's win over Memphis.

Christian Vital scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half as Connecticut overcame what appeared to be a serious leg injury to forward Akok Akok to beat Memphis 64-61.

“It was a big win, obviously,” Hurley said. “But there's no joy in it when something like that happens in the first minute. Sports are brutal sometimes. Life is brutal sometimes.”

James Bouknight added 17 points for Connecticut (14-11, 5-7 American), which has won three of its last four.

Vital and Bouknight combined to score 29 of the Huskies 39 second half points.

“I think that we're turning that corner,” said Vital. “Guys are believing with each game that we are starting to win.”

Precious Achiuwa and Tyler Harris each had 16 points for Memphis (17-8, 6-6), which led for more than 25 minutes in the game, but could not put UConn away. Achiuwa also pulled down 13 rebounds, but hit just seven of his 22 shots.

The teams were tied at 25 at halftime and Memphis scored the first five points of the second half.

A 3-pointer by Vital from the right baseline tied the score at 41 midway through the half, and his two foul shots with just over five minutes left gave the Huskies a 49-47 lead.

UConn didn't trail again.

A 3-pointer by Harris with two seconds left pulled the Tigers within a point at 62-61.

But Vital sank two free throws and Alex Lomax missed a desperation heave from beyond half court at the buzzer.

UConn lost Akok 58 seconds into the game when he went down with what the school said appears to be a torn left Achilles tendon after blocking a shot for the 66th time this season.

The 6-foot-9 freshman could not put any weight on the leg as he was helped off the court and returned to the bench wearing a medical boot.

“We just won this game for him,” Bouknight said. “He's tough. He's a warrior and he's going to be good. I can't wait for him to get back.”

With Akok out of the game, Memphis ran out to a 10-4 lead. They led 20-13 with just over seven minutes left in the half, but scored just five more points before intermission.

Memphis has lost three straight, including a heartbreaking 92-86 setback in overtime at Cincinnati on Thursday.

“I like the direction we're heading, we've just got to learn to finish games,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said.

PLAY OF THE GAME

With the Huskies up 52-50, Vital stole a pass from Alex Lomax. He threw the ball off a Memphis player on the sideline then jumped back inbound, grabbed the ball and found Bouknight down the court for a dunk over Achiuwa and free throw that gave the Huskies a 55-50 lead with 3:05 left.

“Coach talks about making plays all the time," Vital said. “And Bouk really highlighted it. He's the one who made it a play by dunking on Precious like that. It was a good play for us.”

STAT LINE

UConn had 17 second-chance points, outscored Memphis 18-8 on the fast break and scored 19 points off 16 Memphis turnovers.

“It still comes down to the hustle plays,” Hardaway said. “The second-chance points and the points off turnovers are the area that sticks out most and that's all that we worked on.”

BIG PICTURE

This was the last scheduled trip by Memphis to Hartford, with the Huskies leaving the American Athletic Conference for the Big East at the end of the season. The teams are tied 8-8 after splitting their two meetings this season. Memphis won 70-63 in Tennessee on Feb. 1.

UConn hit just one of its first 15 attempts from behind the arc and finished 4 of 23. The Huskies came into the game shooting 33% from 3-point range.

DEFENSE

Josh Carlton had a season-high 13 rebounds and Isaiah Whaley blocked six shots for the Huskies.

UP NEXT

Memphis hosts East Carolina on Wednesday night.

UConn travels to Philadelphia to take on Temple on Thursday night.

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1st Half

Time Team Play Score
20:00   Jumpball received by Connecticut  
19:38   Christian Vital missed 3-pt. jump shot  
19:36   Defensive rebound by Damion Baugh  
19:35   Double dribble turnover on Damion Baugh  
19:19   Josh Carlton missed hook shot  
19:17   Defensive rebound by Precious Achiuwa  
19:09   Precious Achiuwa missed layup, blocked by Akok Akok  
19:07   Defensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
19:02   Personal foul on Boogie Ellis  
19:02   Official timeout called  
19:02   Personal foul on Lester Quinones  
18:50 +2 Isaiah Whaley made jump shot, assist by Jalen Gaffney 0-2
18:36   Lost ball turnover on Boogie Ellis, stolen by Josh Carlton  
18:24   Jalen Gaffney missed 3-pt. jump shot  
18:22   Defensive rebound by Precious Achiuwa  
17:57   Lance Thomas missed 3-pt. jump shot  
17:55   Defensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
17:45   Lost ball turnover on Christian Vital, stolen by Precious Achiuwa  
17:45   Shooting foul on Jalen Gaffney  
17:45 +1 Lester Quinones made 1st of 2 free throws 1-2
17:45 +1 Lester Quinones made 2nd of 2 free throws 2-2
17:24   James Bouknight missed 3-pt. jump shot  
17:22   Defensive rebound by Damion Baugh  
16:55 +2 Damion Baugh made jump shot 4-2
16:30   Christian Vital missed layup, blocked by Precious Achiuwa  
16:28   Offensive rebound by Isaiah Whaley  
16:21   Isaiah Whaley missed dunk  
16:21   Offensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
16:21 +2 Josh Carlton made layup 4-4
16:02 +2 Malcolm Dandridge made driving dunk, assist by Damion Baugh 6-4
15:35   Josh Carlton missed layup  
15:33   Defensive rebound by Damion Baugh  
15:25 +2 Precious Achiuwa made jump shot 8-4
15:03   James Bouknight missed layup, blocked by Precious Achiuwa  
15:01   Offensive rebound by Jalen Gaffney  
14:51   Shot clock violation turnover on Connecticut  
14:51   Commercial timeout called  
14:38 +2 Precious Achiuwa made dunk, assist by Lester Quinones 10-4
14:13   Bad pass turnover on Christian Vital, stolen by Precious Achiuwa  
14:09   Traveling violation turnover on Precious Achiuwa  
14:01   Personal foul on Alex Lomax  
13:48 +3 Christian Vital made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Alterique Gilbert 10-7
13:31   Lost ball turnover on Lester Quinones, stolen by Josh Carlton  
13:21   Christian Vital missed 3-pt. jump shot  
13:19   Defensive rebound by Malcolm Dandridge  
12:57 +3 Precious Achiuwa made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Lester Quinones 13-7
12:31 +2 Josh Carlton made layup, assist by Christian Vital 13-9
12:01   Precious Achiuwa missed running Jump Shot, blocked by Josh Carlton  
11:59   Offensive rebound by Memphis  
12:00   Commercial timeout called  
11:55   Tyler Harris missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:53   Offensive rebound by Boogie Ellis  
11:40   Lost ball turnover on Alex Lomax, stolen by Brendan Adams  
11:36   James Bouknight missed layup  
11:36   Offensive rebound by Isaiah Whaley  
11:36 +2 Isaiah Whaley made dunk 13-11
11:23   Bad pass turnover on Alex Lomax, stolen by Isaiah Whaley  
11:17   Bad pass turnover on Alterique Gilbert, stolen by Alex Lomax  
11:13   Alex Lomax missed jump shot  
11:11   Defensive rebound by Alterique Gilbert  
10:58   Traveling violation turnover on Alterique Gilbert  
10:39 +2 Boogie Ellis made jump shot 15-11
10:10   Alterique Gilbert missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:08   Defensive rebound by Precious Achiuwa  
9:57   Lester Quinones missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:55   Defensive rebound by Sidney Wilson  
9:43   Sidney Wilson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:41   Defensive rebound by Precious Achiuwa  
9:25   Tyler Harris missed turnaround jump shot  
9:23   Defensive rebound by Isaiah Whaley  
8:57 +2 Brendan Adams made jump shot, assist by James Bouknight 15-13
8:39 +3 Boogie Ellis made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Precious Achiuwa 18-13
8:21   Brendan Adams missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:19   Offensive rebound by James Bouknight  
8:15   James Bouknight missed layup, blocked by Tyler Harris  
8:13   Defensive rebound by Tyler Harris  
8:00   Jumpball received by Memphis  
8:00   Shooting foul on Josh Carlton  
8:00   Commercial timeout called  
8:00   Lance Thomas missed 1st of 2 free throws  
8:00 +1 Lance Thomas made 2nd of 2 free throws 19-13
7:43   Personal foul on Lance Thomas  
7:41   Christian Vital missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:39   Defensive rebound by Precious Achiuwa  
7:12   Shooting foul on Brendan Adams  
7:12   Lester Quinones missed 1st of 2 free throws  
7:12 +1 Lester Quinones made 2nd of 2 free throws 20-13
6:50 +2 Brendan Adams made layup, assist by Jalen Gaffney 20-15
6:32   Precious Achiuwa missed layup  
6:30   Offensive rebound by Tyler Harris  
6:29   Personal foul on Christian Vital  
6:15   Boogie Ellis missed jump shot  
6:13   Defensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
6:07   Personal foul on Boogie Ellis  
5:51   Christian Vital missed jump shot, blocked by Lance Thomas  
5:49   Offensive rebound by Connecticut  
5:45   Alterique Gilbert missed jump shot  
5:43   Offensive rebound by James Bouknight  
5:42   James Bouknight missed tip-in  
5:42   Offensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
5:42   Shot clock violation turnover on Connecticut  
5:26   Alex Lomax missed layup  
5:24   Offensive rebound by Lance Thomas  
5:21   Shooting foul on James Bouknight  
5:21 +1 Lance Thomas made 1st of 2 free throws 21-15
5:21   Lance Thomas missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
5:21   Defensive rebound by James Bouknight  
4:59   James Bouknight missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:57   Defensive rebound by Precious Achiuwa  
4:29   Precious Achiuwa missed jump shot  
4:27   Defensive rebound by Christian Vital  
4:23   Shooting foul on Lance Thomas  
4:23 +1 Christian Vital made 1st of 2 free throws 21-16
4:23 +1 Christian Vital made 2nd of 2 free throws 21-17
4:08   Precious Achiuwa missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:06   Defensive rebound by James Bouknight  
3:53   Christian Vital missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:51   Defensive rebound by Memphis  
3:49   Commercial timeout called  
3:27   Precious Achiuwa missed driving layup  
3:25   Defensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
3:10   Offensive foul on Isaiah Whaley  
3:10   Turnover on Isaiah Whaley  
3:01   Lost ball turnover on Lester Quinones, stolen by Brendan Adams  
2:56 +2 James Bouknight made layup, assist by Brendan Adams 21-19
2:44   Double dribble turnover on Precious Achiuwa  
2:27   James Bouknight missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:25   Offensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
2:22   Josh Carlton missed tip-in  
2:20   Offensive rebound by Isaiah Whaley  
2:08   Isaiah Whaley missed layup  
2:06   Offensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
2:06 +2 Josh Carlton made tip-in 21-21
2:06   Tyler Harris missed jump shot  
2:04   Defensive rebound by Connecticut  
1:54   Brendan Adams missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:52   Offensive rebound by James Bouknight  
1:54   Shooting foul on Lester Quinones  
1:48 +1 James Bouknight made 1st of 2 free throws 21-22
1:48 +1 James Bouknight made 2nd of 2 free throws 21-23
1:38 +3 Tyler Harris made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Isaiah Maurice 24-23
1:15 +2 James Bouknight made driving layup 24-25
46.0   Backcourt turnover on Alex Lomax  
34.0   James Bouknight missed 3-pt. jump shot  
32.0   Defensive rebound by Memphis  
32.0   30-second timeout called  
25.0   Personal foul on Alterique Gilbert  
25.0   30-second timeout called  
25.0 +1 Isaiah Maurice made 1st of 2 free throws 25-25
25.0   Isaiah Maurice missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
25.0   Defensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
4.0   James Bouknight missed driving layup  
2.0   Defensive rebound by Precious Achiuwa  
0.0   End of period  

2nd Half

Time Team Play Score
19:48   Josh Carlton missed layup, blocked by Lance Thomas  
19:46   Defensive rebound by Lance Thomas  
19:35 +3 Lance Thomas made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Damion Baugh 28-25
19:14   Jalen Gaffney missed 3-pt. jump shot  
19:12   Defensive rebound by Boogie Ellis  
18:57   Damion Baugh missed layup  
18:55   Defensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
18:41   Isaiah Whaley missed layup  
18:39   Defensive rebound by Boogie Ellis  
18:25   Precious Achiuwa missed 3-pt. jump shot  
18:23   Defensive rebound by Jalen Gaffney  
17:59   Christian Vital missed jump shot  
17:57   Defensive rebound by Precious Achiuwa  
17:48   Boogie Ellis missed layup  
17:46   Offensive rebound by Lance Thomas  
17:42 +2 Lance Thomas made tip-in 30-25
17:25   James Bouknight missed jump shot  
17:23   Defensive rebound by Precious Achiuwa  
17:12   Precious Achiuwa missed layup, blocked by Isaiah Whaley  
17:10   Defensive rebound by Christian Vital  
17:01 +3 Christian Vital made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jalen Gaffney 30-28
16:40   Personal foul on Jalen Gaffney  
16:29   Personal foul on Isaiah Whaley  
16:24   Lester Quinones missed layup, blocked by Isaiah Whaley  
16:22   Defensive rebound by Isaiah Whaley  
16:18   James Bouknight missed layup  
16:16   Defensive rebound by Damion Baugh  
16:16   Unsportsmanlike technical foul on Connecticut  
16:16 +1 Boogie Ellis made 1st of 2 free throws 31-28
16:16 +1 Boogie Ellis made 2nd of 2 free throws 32-28
16:09   Offensive foul on Lester Quinones  
16:09   Turnover on Lester Quinones  
16:09   Official timeout called  
15:51   Josh Carlton missed layup  
15:49   Offensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
15:48   Personal foul on Lance Thomas  
15:48   Commercial timeout called  
15:47 +2 James Bouknight made layup, assist by Christian Vital 32-30
15:47   Shooting foul on Boogie Ellis  
15:47 +1 James Bouknight made free throw 32-31
15:33   Alex Lomax missed layup  
15:31   Offensive rebound by Precious Achiuwa  
15:31   Precious Achiuwa missed layup, blocked by Isaiah Whaley  
15:29   Offensive rebound by Memphis  
15:13   Precious Achiuwa missed jump shot  
15:11   Defensive rebound by James Bouknight  
15:04   James Bouknight missed driving layup  
15:02   Defensive rebound by Damion Baugh  
14:54 +2 Tyler Harris made jump shot 34-31
14:29 +2 Alterique Gilbert made jump shot 34-33
14:00   Offensive foul on Alex Lomax  
14:00   Turnover on Alex Lomax  
13:44   Personal foul on Lance Thomas  
13:33   Bad pass turnover on Alterique Gilbert, stolen by Tyler Harris  
13:29 +2 Tyler Harris made driving layup 36-33
13:27   Personal foul on Damion Baugh  
13:09 +3 Brendan Adams made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Alterique Gilbert 36-36
12:52 +2 Malcolm Dandridge made dunk, assist by Alex Lomax 38-36
12:42   Isaiah Whaley missed jump shot  
12:40   Defensive rebound by Malcolm Dandridge  
12:30 +3 Damion Baugh made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Alex Lomax 41-36
12:10   Brendan Adams missed 3-pt. jump shot  
12:08   Defensive rebound by Precious Achiuwa  
11:57   Offensive foul on Malcolm Dandridge  
11:57   Turnover on Malcolm Dandridge  
11:57   Commercial timeout called  
11:36   Christian Vital missed reverse layup  
11:34   Defensive rebound by Malcolm Dandridge  
11:30   Tyler Harris missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:28   Offensive rebound by Memphis  
11:08   Traveling violation turnover on Alex Lomax  
10:44   Jalen Gaffney missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:42   Offensive rebound by Christian Vital  
10:39 +2 Christian Vital made dunk 41-38
10:22   Malcolm Dandridge missed layup, blocked by Isaiah Whaley  
10:20   Defensive rebound by Christian Vital  
10:09 +3 Christian Vital made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jalen Gaffney 41-41
9:59   30-second timeout called  
9:59   Commercial timeout called  
9:37 +3 Tyler Harris made 3-pt. jump shot 44-41
9:20   Personal foul on Damion Baugh  
9:20 +1 Christian Vital made 1st of 2 free throws 44-42
9:20 +1 Christian Vital made 2nd of 2 free throws 44-43
9:07   Lester Quinones missed jump shot  
9:05   Defensive rebound by Jalen Gaffney  
8:59 +2 Jalen Gaffney made driving layup 44-45
8:30   Precious Achiuwa missed jump shot  
8:28   Defensive rebound by Christian Vital  
8:23   Bad pass turnover on Christian Vital, stolen by Lester Quinones  
8:03   Lance Thomas missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:01   Defensive rebound by James Bouknight  
7:51   Lost ball turnover on Sidney Wilson, stolen by Boogie Ellis