HARTFORD, Conn. — The American Athletic Conference may have five teams ranked in the Top 25 this week, but the bottom teams in the league are struggling to keep pace — at least when they face No. 24 Connecticut.
Junior forward DeAndre Daniels scored 12 points and 11 other Huskies got in the scoring column as UConn breezed to an 83-40 victory over South Florida at XL Center on Wednesday night.
Freshman forward Kentan Facey scored a career-high 10 points for the Huskies (19-5, 7-4 AAC), who shot 52.8 percent.
Junior guard Musa Abdul-Aleem led USF (12-13, 3-9) with eight points. The Bulls made just 12 field goals and shot 24 percent.
The Huskies pulled out to a 31-point lead at halftime and won despite being without two regular players — sophomore guard Omar Calhoun (concussion) and senior forward Tyler Olander (flu).
UConn is 8-2 since opening conference play with consecutive losses at Houston and at SMU. UConn’s last five conference victories — over Temple, Rutgers, Houston, UCF and USF — have come by an average margin of 27 points.
No. 20 Memphis visits XL Center on Saturday. The Huskies won the first meeting at Memphis, 83-73 on Jan. 16.
The Huskies scored the first eight points Wednesday and then methodically built their lead to 28 late in the first half. USF’s ninth turnover led to a breakout dunk by guard Lasan Kromah just before the buzzer to give the Huskies a 45-14 halftime lead.
Center Amida Brimah scored five of UConn’s first six points on two dunks and a free throw. Daniels hit a jumper to make it 8-0 before guard Josh Heath scored the Bulls’ first field goal with 16:47 remaining in the half.
The Bulls missed nine of their first 10 field-goal attempts and shot 17.4 percent (4-for-23) in the first half. UConn, on the other hand, shot 64 percent and had 13 assists on 16 baskets.
NOTES: Sophomore G Omar Calhoun (concussion) did not play for UConn. Calhoun, injured in UConn’s 75-55 win at UCF Sunday, did not practice Tuesday and did not accompany the Huskies to XL Center. Calhoun took an inadvertent elbow to the head, just below his eye, and played only seven minutes against UCF. Calhoun’s status is listed as day-to-day. … Senior G Shabazz Napier moved into 10th place on the UConn all-time scoring list with a 3-pointer with 13:13 remaining in the first half that gave him 1,652 points. Napier moved past Khalid El-Amin (1,650 points) and Donyell Marshall (1,648). … USF entered the game 13-113 all-time against opponents in the Associated Press Top 25.
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