By PAT EATON-ROBB AP Sports Writer
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Rodney Purvis scored a career-high 30 points and UConn beat South Florida 77-66 on Thursday night in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.
Amida Brimah added 13 points and Christian Vital had 11 for the Huskies (15-16), who snapped a four-game losing streak.
Geno Thorpe scored 23 points for South Florida (7-23), which lost six in a row and 18 of its final 19 games to end the season.
UConn led by 13 points at halftime and 15 after a Brimah dunk to open the second half.
But USF went on a 10-0 run from there, and cut the lead to two points several times in the second half. It was 67-65 after a 3-pointer by Thorpe with just under 3 minutes left.
But he fouled out less than a minute later and the Huskies scored 10 of the game’s final 11 points. A 3-pointer by Purvis with 35 seconds left sealed the win.
Purvis had 13 in the first half, including a driving two-handed dunk and 3-pointer on consecutive possessions that sparked a 14-2 UConn run that turned a 25-24 game into a 39-26 lead.
South Florida interim coach Murry Bartow was 1-16 after replacing Orlando Antigua in January. He has publicly expressed his desire to get the job on a permanent basis, but several other names have been linked to the position.
South Florida is one of just four Division I teams with no senior on its roster, so whoever it the coach next season will have a number of returning players to work with. Bartow took over a 6-7 program in January after Orlando Antigua was fired two games into the conference season.
UConn’s Jalen Adams scored eight points while playing his third straight game with a sprained left ankle. Vance Jackson, the Huskies biggest 3-point threat, was cleared to play after missing the last game with a concussion. He finished with seven points.
South Florida: Season is over.
UConn: The Huskies will Houston in the final quarterfinal on Friday night. The tip is set for 9:30 p.m
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