STORRS, Conn. (AP) – Christian Vital scored 21 points and Jalen Adams added 19 points and 12 rebounds as UConn beat Wichita State 80-60 on Saturday night in the American Athletic Conference.
Tyler Polley added 12 points and Josh Carlton 11 and four blocks for the Huskies (12-8, 3-4 American), who have won two straight games for the first time since mid-December.
Jamarius Burton had 16 points for Wichita State (8-11, 1-6), which has lost three in a row and seven of its last eight.
UConn never trailed.
Vital opened the game with a steal and layup and UConn ran out to a 10-0 lead.
It took the Shockers more than five minute to score their first points. Those came on a pair of free throws by Samajae Haynes-Jones. It was another two minutes before they scored their first basket on a driving layup from Dexter Dennis.
A long 3-pointer by Vital at the halftime buzzer gave the Huskies a 43-28 lead.
The Huskies led by as many as 26 in the second half.
Wichita State: The Shockers, who have been to seven straight NCAA Tournaments, were coming off their worst offensive game under Greg Marshall, a 41-point effort in a 13-point loss to USF. They continued to struggle in this one, shooting just 34 percent, including 29 percent in the first half
UConn: UConn point guard Alterique Gilbert, who missed most of his first two seasons in Storrs because of injuries to his left shoulder, took a hard screen just over five minutes into the second half and went to the floor writhing in pain. He left the game under his own power, holding that shoulder. He went to the trainer’s room and later returned to the bench wearing his warm-ups and did not return. Forward Mamadou Diarra, who has been out all season with a knee injury, saw his first action late in the second half and scored two points.
Wichita State: The Shockers return home for two games, the first on Wednesday against SMU
UConn: The Huskies travel to Orlando for a game Thursday at UCF, which beat the Huskies by 12 points in Hartford earlier this month.
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