Adams, Smith lead UConn past Drexel 97-65

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Jalen Adams and Tarin Smith scored 20 points apiece to lead UConn over Drexel 97-65 Tuesday in nonconference play at the XL Center.

Adams shot 8 for 12 from the field, bouncing back from a season-low two points on Saturday against Manhattan. Smith hit all seven of his shots as UConn (10-3) had four guards finish in double-figure scoring. Christian Vital finished with 17 points and six rebounds, while Alterique Gilbert scored 10.

“I wasn’t trying to force things today on offense and I think my teammates, mainly Alterique, put me in good situations to score the ball,” Adams said. “And coach was calling the right plays.”

It’s the sixth time this season UConn has scored more than 90 points.

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Troy Harper led Drexel (6-6) with 20 points, and Camren Wynter added 12. The Dragons, who came in averaging 82.2 points per game, were held to under 70 points for the third time.

“We took a very good offensive team and didn’t make them look very good out there at times,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “We took away the 3-point line from the guys we wanted to take it away from, forced turnovers.

The Huskies shot 56 percent from the field in the first half, held a 26-16 edge in scoring in the paint and led 42-28 at intermission.

UConn would shoot 64.5 percent in the second half, finishing with a season-high 60 percent from the field.

“They have some very productive guards and they were allowed to dominate the game,” Drexel coach Zack Spiker said. “They also shot a high percentage.”

Drexel held its last lead at 8-7 on Alihan Demir’s put back at 16:32 of the first half. UConn answered with an 18-3 run and led by as many as 20 points.

Smith had 13 points at the break.

The Dragons outrebounded UConn 35-30, with 17 coming on the offensive end.

STAT OF THE NIGHT

The Huskies shot 59 percent (10 of 17) on 3-pointers, including 73 percent (8 of 11) in the second half. UConn came in 11 for 44 on 3-pointers in its previous two games, including just 4 for 23 against Manhattan.

DEFENSIVE EFFORT

The Huskies not only held the Dragons below their scoring average but shut down two of their top three scorers. Demir finished with six points after coming in averaging 15.4 per game, while Trevor John finished with two points after averaging 13.4.

HE SAID IT

Hurley on Adams’ performance.

“Listen I have sky-high expectations for Jalen Adams and so does he. He handled it the right way in terms of owning it, and in everything we did, he was super attentive, super serious in terms of his preparation for this one. We talked about atonement Tuesday we wanted to atone for our performance on Saturday. He led the charge.”

BIG PICTURE

Drexel: After completing a two-game swing through Connecticut, the Dragons head home for Christmas, but will be back in New England on Dec. 28 at Northeastern.

UConn: The Huskies have only one game remaining in the 2018 portion of their schedule – Villanova – before a nine-day break.

UP NEXT

Drexel: The Dragons play Philadelphia 5 rival Temple on Saturday at the Palestra.

UConn: The Huskies meet former Big East rival Villanova on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

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