Vital’s career night leads UConn to 85-66 win over Boston U
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — UConn guard Christian Vital scored a total of nine points in the Huskies first two games of the season then asked for a heart-to-heart talk with coach Kevin Ollie.
The sophomore sharpshooter responded with a career-high 30 points on Sunday to lead Connecticut to an 85-66 win over Boston University.
Vital hit 9 of 15 shots and was 4 of 10 from 3-point range.
“It was a positive conversation,” Vital said. “It was how can we get better? How can we grow from this? How can I put myself in a position to help out the team?”
Jalen Adams had 12 points and Terry Larrier and Antwoine Anderson each scored 11 for UConn (3-0).
Cedric Hankerson scored 20 points to lead Boston University (0-3). Nick Havener had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Terriers, who opened the game with an 8-1 run.
UConn missed its first nine shots from the floor before a 3-pointer by Vital cut the BU lead to 8-4, more than five minutes into the game.
The Huskies took their first lead at 16-13 on a 3-pointer by Larrier.
But it was Vital who sparked UConn, hitting six of his first nine shots. He also had five rebounds, a steal and disrupted BU’s offense.
“Out of our 14 deflections, he got seven of them,” Ollie said. “He was all over the place and I think that led to him having a good game. He took it to the basket and was doing things he wasn’t doing in the first game or the second game.”
A 3-pointer by Anderson at the halftime buzzer gave UConn a 39-31 lead.
A pair of Vital free throws gave UConn a 21-point lead at 65-44 and his 3-pointer with just over six minutes left gave the Huskies a 70-48 advantage.
UConn’s bench outscored BU’s 47 to 9. The Huskies also dominated underneath, outrebounding BU 52-32 and outscoring the Terriers 36-18 in the paint.
“We don’t have enough fight and it showed tonight,” said BU coach Joe Jones.
UConn: Vital’s previous career high in points was 18 — in last year’s American Athletic Conference Tournament loss to Cincinnati. The Huskies finish their opening home stand at 3-0 after starting 0-2 a year ago. Two of UConn’s wins, (Colgate and BU) have come against the Patriot League and the other against Stony Brook from the America East.
Boston University: The Terriers are on their first road trip after opening with home losses against Northeastern and Albany. BU has not had a worse start to a season since 2012-13, when they opened the year 0-5. They finished that season 17-13.
UConn’s Eric Cobb suffered a right ankle sprain in the first half and did not return. Ollie said the injury did not appear to be serious. Freshman forward Isaiah Whaley is suffering from an impacted wisdom tooth. Ollie said he hopes that can be taken care of before the Huskies head out on their first road trip.
The game was part of a doubleheader. The top-ranked UConn women drew 10,126 for an afternoon win over No. 15 Maryland. The attendance for the men’s game was just 6,308 at the XL Center, which seats over 15,500 fans for basketball.
UConn: The Huskies head west to take part in the PK80 tournament in Oregon. UConn will face the Oregon Ducks in the opening round on Thanksgiving Day, with a Friday matchup against either Michigan State or DePaul.
Boston University: The Terriers travel to Maine for a game on Wednesday afternoon.