UConn wins defensive battle, 61-46 over Manhattan
By PAT EATON-ROBB
STORRS, Conn. (AP) UConn managed to win on a night when its best player had his worst game of the season.
Huskies star Jalen Adams, who came in averaging almost 19 points a game, had more turnovers (4) than points (2) on Saturday night.
But Christian Vital scored 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds to help Connecticut beat Manhattan 61-46. Alterique Gilbert added 12 points and Josh Carlton had 11 for the Huskies (8-3), who overcame a sluggish start in their first game back after having a week off for exams.
"Everyone's going to have a bad night," Vital said. "It's a team sport. When you have other guys, like we do, who are able to step their game up when one of our better players is having an off night, it just shows the strength of our team."
Freshman Warren Williams had 10 points to lead the Jaspers (2-8), who have lost five straight since beating UNC Ashville on Nov. 18.
UConn led 25-15 after an ugly first half that saw both teams shoot under 30 percent from the floor. The Huskies shot 48 percent in the second half.
Tyler Polley opened the game with a 3-pointer from the right baseline, the only attempt of the Huskies' first 11 that went in the basket. The Jaspers didn't get their first points for more than three minutes, but trailed just 5-0.
Manhattan went on an 8-0 run from there, holding UConn scoreless for more than seven minutes and without a field goal for more than eight.
The Huskies made just eight baskets in the half and were just 2 of 15 from 3-point range.
But Manhattan was worse, shooing 6 of 23 from the field and 1 of 9 from behind the arc. They finished the game with just 17 field goals on 49 shots.
"We're not very good offensively right now. We will be," said Jaspers coach Steve Masiello. "It's just a lot of adjustment of freshmen, new guys, understanding the speed of college basketball, the reads."
UConn closed the half on a 10-0 run, capped by a put-back from Carlton just before the buzzer.
The Huskies scored 10 of the first 14 points to open the second half, hit their first seven shots after intermission and were never really threatened by the Jaspers.
Manhattan: The Jaspers came in giving up just 63 points per game. They held UConn 23 points below its season average.
UConn: The Huskies were just 4 of 23 from 3-point range, but outscored Manhattan 34-22 in the paint.
The 46 points was the lowest point total of any UConn opponent since March of 2016, when the Huskies beat UCF 67-46. UConn had nine blocked shots and forced 24 Manhattan turnovers, led by seven steals from Vital.
Adams had just one basket on four shots and committed three fouls. It was his lowest scoring game since his freshman year.
"That is so far away from his talent level, that it's scary," coach Dan Hurley said. ""For us to play at a high level this year, he needs to play like one of the best guards in the country."
Manhattan: The Jaspers play at Albany on Thursday, the second game in a three-game road swing.
UConn: The Huskies play Drexel in Hartford on Tuesday, before facing Villanova in New York next Saturday.
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Updated December 15, 2018