By PAT EATON-ROBB AP Sports Writer
STORRS, Conn. (AP) _ Christian Vital scored 29 points, seven of them to go along with a key steal in overtime as UConn came back from a 15-point second-half deficit Wednesday night to beat Columbia 77-73.
Antwoine Anderson added 14 points for the Huskies (5-2), who trailed for more than 36 minutes.
Lukas Meisner had 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead Columbia (1-5).
The Lions led 41-30 at halftime and quickly stretched that to 45-30 on consecutive layups by Quinton Adlesh and Patrick Tape.
But UConn began chipping away and Vital’s steal and two free throws with 2:16 left gave UConn a 61-60 lead, it’s first since 2-0.
A long 3-pointer from the right wing by Adlesh gave the Lions a 65-63 lead with 28 seconds left.
But Adams hit a pull-up jumper in the lane with 19 seconds left and the teams were tied at the end of regulation.
Vital hit a jumper that gave the Huskies a four-point cushion in the extra frame, before Columbia’s Nate Hickman made a layup that cut the deficit to 75-73.
A missed 3-pointer by Anderson gave Columbia the ball back. But Vital stole an inbounds pass under the UConn basket and hit both ends of a 1-and-1 to seal the win.
UConn: The Huskies, coming off a 35-point loss to Arkansas, played without guard Alterique Gilbert, who is dealing with soreness in his surgically repaired left shoulder and forwards Isaiah Whaley and Eric Cobb. Whaley had his wisdom teeth removed and Cobb is still recovering from a sprained ankle he suffered against Boston University on Nov. 19.
Columbia has not played a home game yet this season, but has not been embarrassed on the road. The Lions lost by losing by 15 at Villanova on Nov. 10, and 14 at Penn State on Nov. 17.
Columbia: The Lions have one more road game on Saturday at Albany before playing their home opener against Quinnipiac on Dec. 4.
UConn: The Huskies face Monmouth in Hartford Saturday afternoon, before next Tuesday’s showdown against former Big East rival Syracuse in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York.
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