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UCONN

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Quinerly makes instant impact to help Villanova top Uconn

NEW YORK (AP) Jahvon Quinerly had waited all season to prove he could post solid stats instead of just alarming Instagram captions. He got his chance with an inadvertent whack on a Villanova teammate at practice.

Quinerly's elbow put a knot on Collin Gillespie's head during a drill that sidelined the starter and opened a spot in the rotation.

Quinerly had been benched, committed a social media fail and hardly played like a five-star recruit when he did get a chance for the Wildcats. Against UConn, Quinerly suddenly was a factor in ending a rare Villanova losing streak.

''You feel you can do more all the time,'' he said.

Quinerly had the steal of the game and scored 10 points in critical minutes, and the national champion Villanova Wildcats avoided their first three-game losing streak in nearly six years with an 81-58 win over Connecticut on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

''He showed that he's been working at what we do even though he hasn't been playing,'' coach Jay Wright said.

Quinerly, a star recruit who originally committed to Arizona, has had a baffling freshman season. He struggled to get off the bench and missed a game with an injury. Quinerly played only seconds against Penn and was benched against Kansas days after writing an Instagram post criticizing his own program. He turned social media outbursts into highlight-reel bursts against the Huskies (9-4).

Quinerly quickly deleted an Instagram post that said ''Was my 2nd choice for a reason'' after the Penn loss. But social media users noticed and Quinerly later apologized on, yes, social media.

''It was a big mistake on my end,'' he said of the caption.

Wright turned the mistake into a teaching moment.

''I told him, I know that's frustration. I know it's not you,'' Wright said. ''I knew he felt terrible.''

Quinerly, who played 24 minutes, shot an airball and threw a pass straight into UConn's hands in the first half that might have earned him a spot on the bench had Gillespie not been out. He hit a 3 in the first half and had the game's spotlight ''drive of the game'' with a midcourt steal during a 19-0 run that he fed to Phil Booth for an easy basket.

He seemed at ease with the pressure off - when a corner 3 rattled around the rim before it trickled out, Quinerly smiled at the oh-so close attempt.

''I feel like the airball kind of helped me,'' he said. ''I knew that I could keep playing after that. I couldn't let it affect me at all.''

Eric Paschall scored 21 points and Booth had 18 for Villanova. The Wildcats (9-4) had been reeling with consecutive losses at college basketball's most renowned venues; against Penn at Philly's Palestra and to No. 1 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse. The Huskies seemed primed to make it three straight holding a 36-35 lead at the Garden, where the Wildcats celebrated the last two Big East Tournament titles.

Unlike their recent defeats when they wilted down the stretch, Villanova flashed the horsepower of old and unleashed a 19-0 run that sent fans into a frenzy. Joe Cremo hit three 3s during the spurt that made it hard to believe this was the same program that already matched the season loss total from each of the last two seasons.

Cremo stepped into the starting lineup once Quinerly smacked Gillespie during a drill in practice on Thursday. Cremo, a graduate transfer from Albany, made the most of his new role.

The Wildcats hadn't lost three straight since January 2013 against Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Providence in the last season of the old Big East. The Wildcats have won two national titles since then and a loss here or there had seemed more like a minor inconvenience. But after losing four stars from last year's title team to the NBA, Villanova has struggled, though three losses have come to Top 25 teams.

BIG PICTURE

Villanova: Is Quinerly a permanent rotation player or was this a one-game wonder? More games like this one, and Quinerly may be the ball-handling guard who can create from the perimeter the Wildcats need.

UConn: Jalen Adams, who averaged 17.3 points, scored only eight and the Huskies had 17 turnovers.

''When things start going badly, you've got to get more determined,'' coach Dan Hurley said. ''I don't think there's an area where we're necessarily excelling.''

Christian Vital hit four 3s and scored 18 points for UConn.

THE TRILOGY

The former Big East rivals wrap up their three-year series with a game next season in Philly.

UP NEXT

Villanova: Opens Big East play Jan. 2 at home against DePaul.

UConn: Hits the road to play Jan 2 at USF in the AAC opener.

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Key Players
E. Paschall
4 F
A. Gilbert
3 G
28.3 Min. Per Game 28.3
12.3 Pts. Per Game 12.3
4.3 Ast. Per Game 4.3
3.3 Reb. Per Game 3.3
44.1 Field Goal % 41.7
37.1 Three Point % 44.6
74.2 Free Throw % 73.8
  Offensive rebound by Brandon Slater 29.0
  Jahvon Quinerly missed layup, blocked by Sidney Wilson 31.0
  Defensive rebound by Tim Delaney 48.0
  Isaiah Whaley missed 2nd of 2 free throws 48.0
  Isaiah Whaley missed 1st of 2 free throws 48.0
  Shooting foul on Cole Swider 48.0
  Offensive rebound by Isaiah Whaley 49.0
  Sidney Wilson missed layup, blocked by Jermaine Samuels 51.0
  Bad pass turnover on Brandon Slater 1:01
+ 1 Brendan Adams made 2nd of 2 free throws 1:09
  Brendan Adams missed 1st of 2 free throws 1:09
Team Stats
Points 81 58
Field Goals 27-47 (57.4%) 22-54 (40.7%)
3-Pointers 12-23 (52.2%) 7-18 (38.9%)
Free Throws 15-24 (62.5%) 7-14 (50.0%)
Total Rebounds 35 21
Offensive 7 5
Defensive 28 16
Team 0 0
Assists 20 11
Steals 9 5
Blocks 2 5
Turnovers 19 16
Fouls 19 21
Technicals 1 0
21 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST
18 PTS, 5 REB
12T
away team logo Villanova 9-4 305181
home team logo Connecticut 9-4 302858
Team Stats
away team logo Villanova 9-4 73.7 PPG 37.8 RPG 14.0 APG
home team logo Connecticut 9-4 73.8 PPG 39.5 RPG 12.8 APG
Key Players
4
E. Paschall F 16.5 PPG 6.1 RPG 2.1 APG 44.7 FG%
1
C. Vital G 14.2 PPG 5.6 RPG 2.4 APG 45.3 FG%
Top Scorers
E. Paschall F 21 PTS 6 REB 5 AST
C. Vital G 18 PTS 5 REB 0 AST
57.4 FG% 40.7
52.2 3PT FG% 38.9
62.5 FT% 50.0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
E. Paschall 21 6 5 7/12 4/7 3/4 3 36 2 1 4 1 5
P. Booth 18 7 7 6/6 2/2 4/5 2 35 1 0 5 1 6
J. Cremo 11 3 0 4/5 3/3 0/0 2 31 1 0 3 0 3
D. Cosby-Roundtree 5 6 2 2/3 0/0 1/1 4 23 3 0 2 3 3
S. Bey 5 5 2 2/7 0/3 1/2 2 28 1 0 2 0 5
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
E. Paschall 21 6 5 7/12 4/7 3/4 3 36 2 1 4 1 5
P. Booth 18 7 7 6/6 2/2 4/5 2 35 1 0 5 1 6
J. Cremo 11 3 0 4/5 3/3 0/0 2 31 1 0 3 0 3
D. Cosby-Roundtree 5 6 2 2/3 0/0 1/1 4 23 3 0 2 3 3
S. Bey 5 5 2 2/7 0/3 1/2 2 28 1 0 2 0 5
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Quinerly 10 2 4 2/8 1/5 5/8 2 25 1 0 1 0 2
J. Samuels 7 2 0 3/4 1/1 0/2 0 8 0 1 1 0 2
C. Swider 4 1 0 1/2 1/2 1/2 1 8 0 0 0 1 0
T. Delaney 0 1 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
P. Heck 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
T. Saunders 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
B. Slater 0 2 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 2 0 0 1 1 1
C. Gillespie - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 81 35 20 27/47 12/23 15/24 19 200 9 2 19 7 28
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
C. Vital 18 5 0 7/11 4/7 0/0 4 31 1 0 3 0 5
A. Gilbert 14 0 3 5/10 2/3 2/3 4 26 1 0 3 0 0
J. Adams 8 4 5 3/13 0/3 2/3 4 33 2 0 6 1 3
T. Polley 4 0 0 2/4 0/1 0/0 3 32 0 0 0 0 0
J. Carlton 2 3 0 1/1 0/0 0/0 2 12 1 0 0 1 2
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
C. Vital 18 5 0 7/11 4/7 0/0 4 31 1 0 3 0 5
A. Gilbert 14 0 3 5/10 2/3 2/3 4 26 1 0 3 0 0
J. Adams 8 4 5 3/13 0/3 2/3 4 33 2 0 6 1 3
T. Polley 4 0 0 2/4 0/1 0/0 3 32 0 0 0 0 0
J. Carlton 2 3 0 1/1 0/0 0/0 2 12 1 0 0 1 2
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
T. Smith 5 0 1 2/8 1/3 0/1 2 21 0 0 2 0 0
S. Wilson 4 4 1 1/6 0/1 2/3 0 20 0 3 1 2 2
K. Yakwe 2 2 0 1/1 0/0 0/0 1 19 0 2 1 0 2
B. Adams 1 1 1 0/0 0/0 1/2 1 3 0 0 0 0 1
T. Aiyegbusi 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
I. Whaley 0 2 0 0/0 0/0 0/2 0 2 0 0 0 1 1
E. Cobb - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Diarra - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Williams - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Brocke - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 58 21 11 22/54 7/18 7/14 21 200 5 5 16 5 16