A dominant performance on the backboards—coupled with some fine transition play—powered UConn to a 99-78 victory over DePaul in its Big East home opener Tuesday at Gampel Pavilion.
Star of the game: Ryan Boatright was superb against DePaul’s press and equally-electric in the halfcourt as he torched DePaul for 22 points on 8-for-16 shooting. DeAndre Daniels added a career-high 26 points and eight boards.
Key to the win: UConn, outrebounded in all but one game, started with a 20-2 advantage on the glass. Its dominance on the glass — and ability to create second-chance points — powered it to 54 first half points. The Huskies total was the most they’ve scored in a Big East game since the epic 127-117 six-overtime loss to Syracuse in the 2009 Big East tournament.
*Fueled by Boatright on the fastbreak, UConn jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the opening three minutes. A Daniels 3-pointer gave the Huskies a 12-3 advantage, and then extended the lead to double-figures with a tip-in off a Tyler Olander miss. Boatright drilled longball with 11:31 remaining in the first half that opened up a 31-11 lead.
*DePaul’s ball pressure was rendered ineffective by Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright, who sliced through the Blue Demon’s defense Tuesday. Napier was his usual self, quietly tallying 16points, eight rebounds and seven assists, a few— such as a fake behind-the-back bullet to Daniels— of the highlight variety. He added four steals and did not commit a single turnover.
*DePaul guard Brandon Young scored 35 points in defeat. The Blue Demons, who drop to 10-6 overall, cut the lead to 59-47, but never drew closer. A 14-4 UConn run squashed any chance of a comeback.
Up Next: Jan. 12 at Notre Dame