UConn is back in the postseason, and on Thursday night at the FedExForum, they made a statement.
The No. 21 Huskies (25-7, 12-6 AAC) took a 14-point lead into the half, came out slugging in the second and never looked back, running No. 19 Memphis off the court for a 72-53 victory on the Tigers home floor.
With the win—their first in nearly two years after an academic ban kept them from tournament play a season ago—UConn advances to Friday's second American Athletic Conference tournament semifinal, where they will take on the No. 13 Cincinnati Bearcats, who narrowly held off Central Florida in earlier action on Thursday night.
The Huskies and Bearcats split their two regular-season meetings.
Niels Giffey, who was locked in and seemingly couldn't miss, led the Huskies with a career-high 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting. He dropped 18 of those points from behind the arc and also snagged nine rebounds.
DeAndre Daniels added 13 points, and Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright each chipped in 11 to help secure a three-game season sweep for UConn over their new conference rivals.
The No. 19 Tigers (23-9, 12-6 AAC) just never got their offense flowing. Their transition game was sloppy, and they went ice cold from the floor in the second half, at one point suffering through an extended field goal drought that lasted more than 10 minutes.
Chris Crawford and Joe Jackson each had 10 points for Memphis, but they did it on a combined 7-of-23 shooting.
Overall the Tigers shot 14-of-53 from the field, and they turned the ball over 12 times.
Both teams came into Thursday's game as virtual locks to make the NCAA tournament, but it'll be UConn who has a chance to go in with some momentum.
Memphis, now losers of three of their last five games, will be forced to limp into the field of 68.
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