MBB: UConn Rallies, Takes Down Florida, 63-59, In Road Opener

Dorian Finney-Smith

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - University of Connecticut senior guard Ryan Boatright scored 14 points, redshirt sophomore guard Rodney Purvis hit three 3-pointers in the second half as defending national champion Connecticut rallied to beat Florida, 63-59, on Saturday. 

The Gators (7-6) now enter their SEC schedule with a road game at South Carolina (8-3) on Wednesday.

Florida entered halftime with a 37-31 lead, and with the loss, dropped to 6-3 this season when leading at the half. Dorian Finney-Smith was the lone Gator to score in double-figures, notching 19 points. He has now posted double-digit points in the last six games and 22 times in his career.

The Gators led until the 5:33 mark of the second half when Purvis hit a three-pointer to give the Huskies a 54-53 lead.

UConn (7-5) overcame a 13-point deficit in the second half to defeat the Florida for the third time in the last 13 months. UConn had lost five of its previous eight, and Florida had dropped every significant game on its non-conference schedule.

With today’s loss, Florida dropped to 1-3 all-time against. UConn. Florida’s last
win against the Huskies came in the Sweet 16 of the 1994 NCAA Tournament.

Boatright, who missed practice this week while recovering from a thigh bruise, was scoreless in the first 14 minutes. But he made all four of his free throws in the final minute to seal the win.

Purvis, who scored two points in the first half, drained three treys in the final eight minutes. He finished with 11 points. Junior guard Omar Calhoun added a season-high 12 points, and sophomore guard Terrence Samuel chipped in 10.

Today’s contest marked the first time UConn has ever visited Gainesville.

GAME NOTES: In the first half, the Gators shot 52 percent from the field on 13-of-25 shooting, compared to 41.7 percent by UConn on 10-of-24 shooting Florida opened the second half on a 9-3 run and held a 46-34 advantage at the 14:56 mark of the second half. Finney-Smith nailed a trey at the 19:25 mark in the first half, marking UF’s 776th-consecutive game with a three-pointer, a streak that dates back to 1992. Michael Frazier has a 35-game three-point streak, which is good for the second-longest streak in school history, as he passed Kenny Boynton, who recorded a triple in 34-consecutive contests. Frazier needs four games with a trey to tie Lee Humphrey (39; 2006-07) for the UF record. 

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