WICHST
UCONN

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UConn backcourt leads Huskies past Wichita State, 80-60

STORRS, Conn. (AP) When UConn is getting good guard play, the Huskies are hard to beat.

Christian Vital scored 21 points and Jalen Adams added 19 points and 12 rebounds Saturday to lead the Huskies to an 80-60 win over Wichita State in the American Athletic Conference.

The pair combined for 16 baskets on 29 shots (55 percent), 17 boards, eight assists and just one turnover, by Adams.

''I feel like we kind of have the best chemistry in the country,'' Vital said. ''Just because we know each other's game so much. We know where we want the ball and then, as you saw, when it's time to take over, we can do that together.''

Tyler Polley added 12 points and Josh Carlton 11 and four blocks for the Huskies (12-8, 3-4 American), who have won two straight games for the first time since mid-December.

Jamarius Burton had 16 points for Wichita State (8-11, 1-6), which has lost three in a row and seven of its last eight.

UConn never trailed.

Vital opened the game with a steal and layup and UConn ran out to a 10-0 lead.

It took the Shockers more than five minute to score their first points. Those came on a pair of free throws by Samajae Haynes-Jones. It was another two minutes before they scored their first basket on a driving layup from Dexter Dennis.

A long 3-pointer by Vital at the halftime buzzer gave the Huskies a 43-28 lead.

UConn stretched the lead to 19 early in the second half, before point guard Alterique Gilbert (five points, six assists), reinjured his surgically repaired left shoulder running in to a screen set by Morris Udeze and left the game.

The Shockers cut the lead to 12 before the Huskies regrouped and put the game away, pushing their advantage to 26 points late in the game.

''A great group of guards can cover up a lot of other things that maybe you don't necessarily have'' said UConn coach Dan Hurley. ''And obviously, we're seeing a different level of play from Jalen and Christian and Al.''

BIG PICTURE

Wichita State: The Shockers, who have been to seven straight NCAA Tournaments, were coming off their worst offensive game under Gregg Marshall, a 41-point effort in a 13-point loss to South Florida. They continued to struggle in this one, shooting just 34 percent, including 29 percent in the first half.

''We have a very young and inexperienced team that struggles to score,'' said Marshall. ''You've got to make shots.''

UConn: Hurley said Gilbert's injury is not believed to be too serious, though he will undergo more tests and may miss the Huskies next game. ...Forward Mamadou Diarra, who has been out all season with a knee injury, saw his first action late in the second half and scored two points.

NEW FACE

UConn's highly touted recruit Akok Akok spent his first game on the bench as a second semester walk-on for the Huskies. Under NCAA rules, the 6-foot-9 forward won't be eligible to play until next season because he was recruited by the school and is receiving financial aid. He is practicing with the team with the expectation that he will play in the fall as a redshirt freshman.

POLLEY'S DEFENSE

Polley was matched up on Wichita State star Markis McDuffie, who came in averaging more than 19 points a game. The Shockers star scored just nine Saturday on 4-of-14 shooting. Polley, who had been struggling offensively, was 4 of 8 from the floor, and made three of his five 3-point shots.

''Because he was thinking so much about his defense, he took pressure off himself at the offensive end,''' Hurley said. ''He wasn't ruminating so much on missed shots because he had to focus on guarding a top-level player.''

UP NEXT:

Wichita State: The Shockers return home for two games, the first on Wednesday against SMU

UConn: The Huskies travel to Orlando for a game Thursday at UCF, which beat the Huskies by 12 points in Hartford earlier this month.

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Key Players
S. Haynes-Jones
J. Adams
30.7 Min. Per Game 30.7
18.1 Pts. Per Game 18.1
3.2 Ast. Per Game 3.2
3.7 Reb. Per Game 3.7
35.9 Field Goal % 51.4
31.6 Three Point % 36.7
80.0 Free Throw % 83.6
  Defensive rebound by Daniel Brocke 31.0
  Dexter Dennis missed 3-pt. jump shot 33.0
+ 1 Isaiah Whaley made 2nd of 2 free throws 44.0
  Isaiah Whaley missed 1st of 2 free throws 44.0
  Shooting foul on Asbjorn Midtgaard 44.0
+ 1 Erik Stevenson made 2nd of 2 free throws 56.0
+ 1 Erik Stevenson made 1st of 2 free throws 56.0
  Shooting foul on Temi Aiyegbusi 56.0
  Defensive rebound by Rod Brown 1:00
  Brendan Adams missed layup, blocked by Asbjorn Midtgaard 1:02
+ 2 Dexter Dennis made dunk 1:27
Team Stats
Points 60 80
Field Goals 22-65 (33.8%) 31-62 (50.0%)
3-Pointers 4-16 (25.0%) 11-24 (45.8%)
Free Throws 12-14 (85.7%) 7-17 (41.2%)
Total Rebounds 32 47
Offensive 10 14
Defensive 19 28
Team 3 5
Assists 7 15
Steals 3 5
Blocks 4 9
Turnovers 7 11
Fouls 16 16
Technicals 0 0
16 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST
21 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST
12T
away team logo Wichita State 8-11 283260
home team logo Connecticut 12-8 433780
Team Stats
away team logo Wichita State 8-11 70.6 PPG 41 RPG 13.6 APG
home team logo Connecticut 12-8 73.8 PPG 39.5 RPG 12.8 APG
Key Players
2
J. Burton G 6.0 PPG 3.4 RPG 3.4 APG 38.7 FG%
1
C. Vital G 14.2 PPG 5.6 RPG 2.4 APG 45.3 FG%
Top Scorers
J. Burton G 16 PTS 2 REB 1 AST
C. Vital G 21 PTS 5 REB 5 AST
33.8 FG% 50.0
25.0 3PT FG% 45.8
85.7 FT% 41.2
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Burton 16 2 1 6/12 1/3 3/3 2 29 0 0 2 1 1
E. Stevenson 12 2 1 4/9 1/3 3/3 1 22 0 0 0 1 1
M. McDuffie 9 4 0 4/14 1/6 0/1 2 32 0 1 0 1 3
S. Haynes-Jones 6 1 2 1/6 0/1 4/4 1 29 1 0 1 0 1
J. Echenique 0 5 0 0/3 0/0 0/0 2 9 0 1 1 1 4
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Burton 16 2 1 6/12 1/3 3/3 2 29 0 0 2 1 1
E. Stevenson 12 2 1 4/9 1/3 3/3 1 22 0 0 0 1 1
M. McDuffie 9 4 0 4/14 1/6 0/1 2 32 0 1 0 1 3
S. Haynes-Jones 6 1 2 1/6 0/1 4/4 1 29 1 0 1 0 1
J. Echenique 0 5 0 0/3 0/0 0/0 2 9 0 1 1 1 4
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
D. Dennis 8 2 0 3/13 1/3 1/2 2 29 1 0 0 2 0
A. Midtgaard 6 4 0 3/5 0/0 0/0 3 20 1 2 1 1 3
M. Udeze 3 4 1 1/1 0/0 1/1 1 11 0 0 0 2 2
R. Brown 0 4 2 0/1 0/0 0/0 1 10 0 0 1 1 3
E. Farrakhan 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0
R. Torres 0 1 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 1 8 0 0 0 0 1
T. Allen - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Bush - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Herrs - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I. Poor Bear-Chandler - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Busse - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 60 29 7 22/65 4/16 12/14 16 200 3 4 7 10 19
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
C. Vital 21 5 5 7/11 5/8 2/2 1 31 1 0 0 1 4
J. Adams 19 12 3 9/18 1/4 0/0 2 31 0 1 1 3 9
T. Polley 12 4 1 4/8 3/5 1/2 1 30 0 0 2 2 2
J. Carlton 11 6 0 4/4 0/0 3/6 3 23 0 4 1 1 5
A. Gilbert 5 2 6 2/7 1/4 0/0 0 21 2 1 2 0 2
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
C. Vital 21 5 5 7/11 5/8 2/2 1 31 1 0 0 1 4
J. Adams 19 12 3 9/18 1/4 0/0 2 31 0 1 1 3 9
T. Polley 12 4 1 4/8 3/5 1/2 1 30 0 0 2 2 2
J. Carlton 11 6 0 4/4 0/0 3/6 3 23 0 4 1 1 5
A. Gilbert 5 2 6 2/7 1/4 0/0 0 21 2 1 2 0 2
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
T. Smith 5 3 0 2/5 1/2 0/2 0 24 1 1 1 1 2
E. Cobb 2 7 0 1/2 0/0 0/2 3 13 0 1 2 5 2
M. Diarra 2 0 0 1/2 0/0 0/0 1 4 0 0 0 0 0
S. Wilson 2 2 0 1/3 0/0 0/1 2 10 0 1 1 1 1
I. Whaley 1 0 0 0/0 0/0 1/2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
T. Aiyegbusi 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
B. Adams 0 0 0 0/2 0/1 0/0 1 8 1 0 1 0 0
D. Brocke 0 1 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
K. Yakwe - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Williams - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 80 42 15 31/62 11/24 7/17 16 200 5 9 11 14 28