XL Center– Guard Alterique Gilbert scored 21 points to lead UConn over the University of New Hampshire 88-62 on Sunday at the XL Center.
The point of emphasis for the week was turnovers and how to control the ball with movement and crisp passes.
Gilbert, who had scored a combined nine points over the previous two games, took over the game in the second half with his own 9-0 run to make it 52-37 with 15:57 remaining left in the contest.
“Just confidence and I think it’s a mindset as well,” Gilbert said. “Just blocking everything out and knowing why you are here. I play the game just to have fun, I have fun with it and I really enjoyed it today.”
The Huskies started the game flat trailing by as much as nine early on in the contest. But the Huskies made some adjustments and sprinted out to a 15-0 run fueled by freshmen guards James Bouknight and Jalen Gaffney. They finished the game with 14 and 8 points, respectively. Bouknight also grabbed seven boards while Gaffney dished out five assists.
Akok Akok had 14 and 12 points, respectively. UConn was 11-for-24 on 3-pointers.
Nick Guadarrama led UNH (6-6) with 19 points and Jayden Martinez chipped in 14 points.
Despite UConn shooting woes they led 40-36 at the half behind 11 points from Vital and Gilbert’s eight. After shooting 1-for-6 to start from beyond the arc, the Huskies finished 6-for-14.
The Huskies sprung out of the gate in the second half, as nine straight points by Alterique Gilbert pushed the lead to 15. The game went back and forth from there but UConn maintained a solid lead throughout. Gilbert continued playing well and plenty of others got involved as the Huskies cruised to victory.
The Huskies shot 65% in the second half and were 5-of-10 on shots downtown. Gilbert scored 13 points after the break and was key on the 14-3 opening run.
“I think Al had a really good approach, he let the game come to him,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “He started the game with a mindset, a defensive mindset to start and he was going to get himself going offensively by being a pest defensively.
UConn will play against NJIT on December 29th before a January 1st against Cincinnati on the road to open up conference play. The NJIT game will take place at 1 p.m. at the XL Center and televised on SNY.