Christian Vital and Tyler Polley scored 15 points each to power Connecticut to a 62-59 victory over No. 15 Florida on Sunday in Storrs, Conn.
Polley scored 10 points in the second half, when Vital made all six of his free throws, to secure the win for UConn (2-1).
Vital added five assists and four rebounds, Josh Carlton scored 13 points, and Alterique Gilbert had 10 points and four assists for the Huskies.
UConn finished 16-for-22 from the free throw line. The Huskies shot just 35.6 percent from the field, including 4 of 22 from 3-point range.
Kerry Blackshear Jr. led Florida (2-2) with 15 points and eight rebounds but fouled out with 4:37 remaining. Andrew Nembhard scored all 14 of his points in the second half to keep the Gators close.
Vital’s two free throws with 17.9 seconds left gave UConn the three-point cushion. The Gators’ Keyontae Johnson had an open 3-point look at the top of the key but hesitated, leading to a turnover. The Huskies ran out the clock.
Florida shot 40 percent from the field and made 5 of 20 from 3-point range.
UConn went scoreless for the first 5:59 of the contest but took a 25-20 lead into halftime because the Gators went scoreless over the final 3:23.
The Gators had scored just six points when Polley’s layup put UConn on the board with 14:01 to go.
Blackshear led Florida with 10 points in the first half and Vital had a team-high seven for UConn.
Both teams shot terribly from the floor and the 3-point line and both teams turned over the ball.
UConn made just two 3-pointers and shot 33.3 percent from the floor (9 of 27) in the half, while the Gators made just one trey and shot 30.8 percent (8 of 26).
It was a one-point game with 3:23 left before Isaiah Whaley’s layup and Gilbert’s free throws gave UConn the five-point cushion.
The Gators didn’t make a field goal over the final 5:29.
Both teams will participate in the Charleston Classic on Thursday, with the Gators playing St. Joseph’s and UConn playing Buffalo.
—Field Level Media