UCONN picked a great day to have such a solid all around effort to win 77-62 against Temple and now head to the AAC Tournament Finale. UCONN, with former Huskies and NBA champs Ray Allen and Rip Hamilton both in attendance, fittingly shot over 50% from the three while Temple shot a surprisingly abysmal 4-20 from beyond the arc. Temple started the game strong and it seemed that maybe, after playing in such an emotionally charged game the night before, that UCONN would lack the energy necessary to keep up. Worries over their level of fatigue seemed to be over exaggerated however, as they took the lead early in the first half and never looked back. Despite shooting more free throws than UCONN, Temple was unable to take advantage of the extra opportunities only converting on 54% from the charity stripe.
Daniel Hamilton had another outstanding game going for 19 and 11 after nearly notching a triple double in Fridays quadruple overtime win. After his second straight double/double and struggling with up and down play for the majority of the year Hamilton said he’s looking to use his recent play as a catalyst for himself and the rest of his team “It was definitely a confidence booster, especially after last night’s game and going into overtime making plays. My teammates just found me and I think going forward we’ll be able to play like we did the last two days.” Head Coach Kevin Ollie eluded to Hamilton’s calm demeanor as his favorite aspect of Hamilton’s makeup and said he looks for that to continue going forward.
UCONN forward Shonn Miller scored 19 as well and added 7 boards while freshman guard Jalen Adams provided another solid performance, notching 11 points and 8 assist after going for 22 and hitting from half court last night, helping to keep their drive to the conference title game alive. Coach Ollie made mention of his play saying “Jalen has giving us a real punch with our offense, being able to get into the lane. He played a great floor game tonight.”
Making it to the conference title game should all but lock up and tourney bid but Coach Ollie and his players definitely have their sights set on winning the whole thing. With only one game left to see if they can capture the conference title Coach Ollie alluded to the strength of the conference overall and the opportunity for multiple teams from the American to make the NCAA tournament. “I just think we have a great group of teams, we deserve a few at large bids. Of course someone’s going to take the automatic bid but if you look at Cincinnati and their toughness and Temple playing good basketball, you can go down the line. I mean I love the American and I think everyone in America should too.”
Temple forward Jalen Bond had 17 and 10 for his team and shot an efficient 7-9 from the floor however it just wasn’t enough. Temple will now have to wait for selection Sunday to see where they’ll land as the regular season conference champs. UCONN will now relax, at least for an evening, and wait to see who they’ll face in tomorrow’s title game. Be it Tulane or Memphis, they’ll need to remain focused and perhaps the shooting touch of two great shooters and NBA champions will rub off on them again.