Tyler Polley scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half to lift Connecticut to an 82-73 win over East Carolina on Sunday in the American Athletic Conference season finale for both teams.
Josh Carlton added 20 points to lead the Huskies. Christian Vital added 16 points, and Jalen Adams contributed 13 points and 12 assists. Shawn Williams scored 20 points and senior Isaac Fleming scored 18 points with 11 assists on senior day for East Carolina (10-20, 3-15 American Athletic Conference), which lost for the ninth time in its last 10 games.
The Huskies (15-16, 6-12) won for the second time in three games by using excellent shooting to overcome some carelessness with the basketball (18 turnovers). UConn shot 62.5 percent from the field and 84.2 percent from the free throw line as Polley heated up from the field in the second half.
At 6-foot-8, he positioned himself on the wing in front of the Huskies’ bench and elevated over the defense to make four of his five 3-point attempts in the second half. Meanwhile, Carlton used his 6-foot-10 frame to battle for baskets and draw fouls inside.
Polley made a pair of 3-pointers from in front of the UConn bench within 1:40 to spark the Huskies to an 11-2 run that turned a 48-48 tie into a 59-50 lead with 10:39 remaining. ECU closed to within 64-62 on a Jayden Gardner basket with 5:36 remaining, but the Huskies scored the next five points to stretch their lead.
UConn: After suffering through a six-game losing streak that took up most of February, the Huskies enter the postseason with a 2-1 record in March. Sunday also marked the team’s lone road win in conference play.
ECU: The Pirates finished a difficult regular season with nine losses in their final 10 games. Losing junior Seth LeDay (11.0 ppg) to a season-ending knee injury Wednesday night at Wichita State didn’t help East Carolina’s prognosis entering the postseason.
UConn: Will play an undetermined opponent in the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Thursday in Memphis.
East Carolina: Also plays in the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Thursday in Memphis.