HARTFORD, CT — Connecticut used a first-half run to build a lead and take a 72-65 American Athletic Conference win over East Carolina on Sunday night.
A 3-pointer by Kentrell Barkley gave the Pirates (9-11, 1-6 AAC) a 14-13 advantage with 12:27 left in the first half but the Huskies responded with a 21-0 run for a 34-14 lead.
ECU freshman Elijah Hughes ended the drought with a 3-pointer with 4:31 left in the half to start a 13-0 flurry by the Pirates.
UConn (9-11, 3-4) led 38-28 at the half. ECU got no closer than seven points in the last 20 minutes.
Barkley paced the Pirates with 18 points and seven rebounds. Hughes finished with 14 points and four assists as ECU played its second game without leading scorer B.J. Tyson, who was averaging 11.9 points before sustaining a knee injury on Jan. 11 against Houston.
Caleb White added 13 points in the loss and freshman Jeremy Sheppard scored nine.
Jalen Adams led Connecticut with 19 points. N.C. State transfer Rodney Purvis had 16 points for the Huskies. Kentan Facey had 13 points, 10 rebounds and blocked four shots for UConn. Amida Brimah had 13 points and three blocks.
The Pirates were without coach Jeff Lebo, who is recovering from hip surgery. Michael Perry is serving as interim coach.
“Our guys competed and fought but they’re still learning how to win,” Perry said.
ECU will be back home to take on Tulsa (11-7, 5-1) on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
UConn visits the Pirates on Wednesday, March 1 at 7 p.m.
Sunday’s game was played at the XL Center, site of the AAC Tournament on March 9-12.