The last time the UConn Huskies and South Florida Bulls men's basketball teams faced off, it was UConn who blew out the Bulls by 43 points at the XL Center a few weeks ago.
This time around, UConn wasn't at Level 5 intensity and almost suffered a BAD road defeat.
Thanks to an 18-0 second half run, the Huskies beat the Bulls 61-56 at the Sun Dome in Tampa, FL on Wednesday night.
UConn improves to 22-6 (10-5 American) while South Florida falls to 12-16 (3-12).
Shabazz Napier scored 15 of his game-high 17 points in the second half to lead the Huskies. He also dished out seven assists. Ryan Boatright added 14 points while Niels Giffey added 11 points and five rebounds. DeAndre Daniels tied Giffey for team-high with five rebounds to go along with his five points.
Victor Rudd was the only member of USF to hit double figures with 14 points and he also pulled down eight boards and had five helpers. John Egbunu added eight points and a game-high nine rebounds while Chris Perry had eight points.
UConn got out to a quick 5-0 lead only to see that evaporate quickly after USF scored the next seven points. The Huskies battled back and extended their to lead to six points at 15-9.
The Bulls followed that up with an 11-2 run to take a three-point lead at the last media timeout of the first half. UConn kept it close the rest of the way before USF closed out the half with four straight points to take a 28-22 lead at the break.
Over the first part of the second half, the Bulls built their lead to nine points. Then they, USF, went cold like the New England air right now, as UConn went on an 18-0 run behind Napier and Boatright to seize control of the game.
The Bulls didn't lay down though as they fought back to cut a nine-point deficit to one point. But three-pointers by Giffey and Napier sealed the win for visiting squad.
Not exactly what the Huskies needed again. They're struggling right now to find an identity offensively. They'll need to find it before their next game on Saturday.
That game will come at the XL Center in Hartford, CT as they'll host the Cincinnati Bearcats. Tip is scheduled for 12 p.m.
UConn Huskies @ South Florida Bulls 2/26/14 box score
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