Vital, Bouknight lead UConn to 64-61 win over Memphis

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Christian Vital scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half to lead UConn to a 64-61 win over Memphis on Sunday.

James Bouknight added 17 points for the Huskies (14-11, 5-7 American), who have won three of their last four.

Vital and Bouknight combined to score 29 of the Huskies 39 second half points.

Precious Achiuwa and Tyler Harris each had 16 points for Memphis, which led for more than 25 minutes in the game, but could not put UConn away.

The teams were tied at 25 at halftime and Memphis scored the first five points of the second half.

A 3-pointer by Vital from the right baseline tied the score at 41 midway through the half, and his two foul shots with just over five minutes left gave the Huskies a 49-47 lead.

UConn didn't trail again.

A 3-pointer by Harris with two seconds left pulled the Tigers within a point at 62-61.

But Vital sank two free throws and Alex Lomax missed a desperation heave from beyond half court at the buzzer.

UConn lost forward Akok Akok less than a minute into the game when he went down with what the school said appears to be a torn left Achilles tendon after blocking a shot.

The 6-foot-9 freshman, who leads the conference in blocked shots, could not put any weight on the leg as he was helped off the court and returned to the bench wearing a medical boot.

With Akok out of the game, Memphis ran out to a 10-4 lead. They led 20-13 with just over seven minutes left in the half, but scored just five more points before intermission.

Memphis had lost two straight, including a heartbreaking 92-86 setback in overtime at Cincinnati on Thursday.

BIG PICTURE

This was the last scheduled trip by Memphis to Hartford, with the Huskies leaving the American Athletic Conference for the Big East at the end of the season. The teams are tied 8-8 after splitting their two meetings this season. Memphis won 70-63 in Tennessee on Feb. 1.

UConn hit just one of its first 15 attempts from behind the arc and finished 4 of 23. The Huskies came into the game shooting 33% from 3-point range. Josh Carlton had a season-high 13 rebounds and Isaiah Whaley had blocked six shots for the Huskies.

UP NEXT

Memphis hosts East Carolina on Wednesday night.

UConn travels to Philadelphia to take on Temple on Thursday night.

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