AP Photo/Jessica Hill
UConn men’s basketball head coach Dan Hurley is still confused why he was ejected from Tuesday’s game.
“I’m very eager to find out from the (Big East) head of officials what the explanation [for] that was,” he told reporters after the Huskies’ 71-69 victory over Villanova.
Hurley picked up a technical foul in the first half of the contest and was then assessed a second one when he turned around to pump up the crowd. UConn was leading 24-23 in the first half when he was ejected.
Associate head coach Kimani Young took over for him after the ejection.
While Hurley’s exit was the story of the first half, the Huskies made sure the story of the second half was their dramatic comeback in the final stretch.
They trailed 69-65 with 31 seconds remaining and seemed on their way to a surefire loss when Villanova’s Caleb Daniels stepped to the free-throw line. However, he missed the front end of a one-and-one, which set the stage for the comeback.
Tyler Polley hit a three to cut the deficit to one before R.J. Cole stole the ball back and scored in the lane with five seconds left to give UConn the lead for good. Collin Gillespie’s charge on the ensuing Villanova possession all but sealed it, and the home crowd stormed the floor after the impressive victory over the No. 8 Wildcats.
Adama Sanogo led the way for the victors with 20 points, six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal.
UConn is now 20-7 overall and 11-5 in Big East play after the win. It has won four games in a row and has the opportunity to finish the regular season on a high note with three more games against Georgetown, Creighton and DePaul.
Georgetown and DePaul are a combined 3-28 in the conference and shouldn’t pose much of a problem, while the game against the Bluejays, who are 10-5 in the Big East, could go a long way toward seeding in the conference tournament.
The Huskies are in third place and two games behind Providence and Villanova.
While it may be too late to make a charge at the conference title, the No. 3 seed in the Big East tournament is well within their reach thanks to Young’s ability to coach them to victory after Hurley was ejected.