Adama Sanogo scored a game-high 25 points Friday night and No. 20 Connecticut used a 21-2 run late in the second half to stop No. 18 Alabama 82-67 in the semifinals of the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Ore.
Jordan Hawkins added 16 for the Huskies (7-0), who play Iowa State for the tournament title Sunday night. The Cyclones upset top-ranked North Carolina 70-65 in Friday’s first semifinal.
Alex Karaban contributed 12 points and Joey Calcaterra came off the bench to net 10 for UConn, which forced 21 turnovers and turned those into 23 points. The Huskies also nailed 21 of 24 free throws, including 17 of 18 after halftime.
Freshman Brandon Miller scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Crimson Tide (5-1) but made only 5 of 15 shots. Jaden Bradley added 12 points in a reserve role, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Alabama had trouble consistently running its offense against UConn’s aggressive defense. It hit just 42 percent of its field goal tries and got just 26 points from its other starters besides Miller.
The game was tied at 52 with 8:52 left after Bradley hit a layup. But Sanogo made a layup to give the Huskies the lead for good. He scored 11 points during the ensuing run, capping it with another layup for a 73-54 advantage with 3:16 remaining.
The first 5 1/2 minutes of the game were hard to watch. It was 5-5 as neither team could find the range against the other’s aggressive defense. But UConn made the first true run as its defense forced turnover after turnover.
Beginning with Calcaterra’s layup at the 11:04 mark, the Huskies rattled off 14 straight points in less than two minutes. Alabama contributed three turnovers during the spurt that were converted into seven points.
The margin reached 15 when Hawkins drained a 3-pointer with 4:21 left for a 33-18 advantage. The Tide went to work at that point, ripping off a 12-2 spurt to close the half. Noah Clowney dunked off a Jahvon Quinerly feed with three seconds remaining to pull them within 35-30 at the break.
–Field Level Media