Down 13 points in the second half in a hostile environment in their first true road game, the UConn Huskies men’s basketball team could have folded like a bad hand in cards. Instead, they battled back and never gave up.
And for that, their effort was rewarded as the Huskies beat the Florida Gators 63-59 in front of 11,041 and a national television audience at the O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on Saturday afternoon.
It’s a big road win for UConn as they improve to 7-5 while the Gators slip to 7-6.
Ryan Boatright, who missed the second half of the loss to Temple on New Year’s Eve afternoon, returned to the lineup to lead the Huskies with 14 points and six assists while grabbing six boards. Omar Calhoun came off the bench to add 12 points while Rodney Purvis added 11 points, including two big back-to-back three pointers down the stretch.
Terrence Samuel chipped in with 10 points with Daniel Hamilton adding nine. Amida Brimah scored just three points but led UConn with 10 rebounds.
Dorian Finney-Smith was the only member of the Gators to hit double-figures as he led all scorers in the game with 19 points. Michael Frazier had eight points while Kasey Hill and Chris Chiozza had seven.
Despite the fact that Florida is struggling this season, this is a big win for the Huskies. Anytime you can rally for the win in enemy territory is huge but it’s even bigger when your team needs the win.
Boat saw that and gave everything he had just like the rest of the team did. And now the Huskies can return to conference play with a little momentum.
UConn will stay in Florida as they return to action on Tuesday night when they’ll take on the South Florida Bulls. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.
UConn Huskies @ Florida Gators 1/3/15 box score
photo credit: brad horrigan – hartford courant