By Dom Amore, The Hartford Courant
DALLAS – The UConn men’s basketball team had a terrible shooting afternoon, and hampered by a tall, dogged defense and lost to Southern Methodist 74-65 at sold-out Moody Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
The Huskies (11-3) lost both games on this Texas trip, and are still looking for their first win in the American Athletic Conference. They are also still looking to regain their offensive confidence, which has not been the same since their loss to Stanford on Dec. 18. They made just 18of 49 shots from the floor against SMU (11-3) and were outrebounded 36 to 20.
UConn rallied late in the first half and led 33-32 at the break, but the Mustangs, playing the first game in their newly renovated arena, dominated the second half. Shabazz Napier scored 12 very quiet points for UConn, as he was completely smothered by SMU’s defense and got off only one shot in the first half. Larry Brown, SMU’s legendary, 73-year-old coach, was determined, it seems, not to let Napier beat his team.
Ryan Boatright scored 15 and DeAndre Daniels 11 for UConn, which looked out of sync offensively, expect for a brief run fueled by getting to the foul line in the first half..
Nic Moore led SMU with 20 points, making four three-point shots. SMU shot 47 percent from the floor.
Then UConn got into the rebounding game, and Lasan Kromah came in to change the defensive look. The Huskies went on a 12-3 run to take the lead.
It see-sawed, but Ryan Boatright, who has sustained his solid play through the Huskies’ recent struggles, made an open three-pointer on the last possession of the half to give UConn a 33-32 lead. Boatright scored eight, DeAndre Daniels seven in the half for UConn, which made 13 of 15 from the line.
SMU was hurting UConn with the three ball, three by Nic Moore, who had 15 of the Mustangs’ points.