Cameron Reynolds took a wide open 10-foot shot from the baseline in the first half and hit the side of the rim. A few minutes later, he had the exact same shot from the other side of the basket.
No dice again.
Tulane continued to roll snake eyes at Devlin Fieldhouse in American Athletic Conference play, misfiring on one decent look after the other on the way to a familiar 67-57 loss to Connecticut on Saturday in front of 1,902. The Green Wave (11-6, 2-3) dropped to 5-25 in home league games since joining the AAC in 2014-15, including 1-2 this season, with the recurring storyline its inability to make shots.
This time, Tulane could not buy a basket from 3-point range, finishing 4 of 19. The Wave struggled from all points of the floor in the first half, connecting on only 8 of 27.
“It’s human nature that once you miss a couple of shots, you start questioning yourself a little bit,” coach Mike Dunleavy said. “We have guys that can shoot the 3-pointer really well. There will be games against really good teams where if we make shots, we win. That’s kind of where we are as a team.”
Jalen Adams, the AAC’s leading scorer, poured in 21 of his game-high 26 points in the second half as the Huskies (10-7, 3-2) won for only the second time in eight outings away from Connecticut and improved to 6-0 against Tulane. The Wave entered as a 2-point favorite but led only once, 20-19 on a dunk by Melvin Frazier, before succumbing to too many scoring droughts.
Tulane missed its first six shots, going nearly five minutes without a basket, did not score in the last 3:10 of the first half and endured another three-minute scoreless stretch midway through the second half as the Huskies pulled away for good.
“They were all great looks, so you really can’t get too frustrated,” Reynolds said. “We had to stay with the game plan and get on the offensive glass and get into the middle. That’s what coach was trying to tell us do all the time, but we had a hard time at first.”
Frazier led the Wave with 16 points, getting six of them in the final two minutes after the outcome was decided. Reynolds added 13 points and Ray Ona Embo chipped in 12, but everyone else was a non-factor offensively.
“We played with a lot of intensity,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. “That first half of our defense was probably the best (of the year). We really established ourselves on the defensive end and have to continue that.”
Dunleavy felt Tulane launched a few 3-pointers too quickly at the beginning of the game and could have attacked the zone the Huskies switched to later in the half more effectively.
Otherwise, he had no major complaints after ripping the team for its lack of effort in the first half of a 96-89 loss at Memphis on Tuesday.
“Our effort was really good,” he said. “There were a lot of positives in the game.”
UConn responded to every run. After Frazier’s go-ahead dunk, the Huskies outscored the Wave 11-2 to go ahead 30-22 by halftime. When Tulane pulled within two in the second half, Adams and Terry Larrier hit back-to-back 3s on a 12-2 spurt that padded the advantage to 56-43.
That stretch coincided with Tulane center Blake Paul going to the bench with four fouls at the 11:45 mark. He had blocked three shots earlier in the half, but without his presence, Adams had free rein on drives to the basket, beating freshman Bul Ajang twice in a row for layups.
“He (Paul) has to get better at putting his hands high and not swinging through it so he can be an intimidating factor instead of having to sit down,” Dunleavy said. “It’s all a work in progress.”
Tulane had no answer for Adams, who handed out five assists in the first half before taking over as a scorer with some spectacular finishes on drives.
“That’s exactly how I want him to play,” Ollie said. “He really allowed his teammates to get going, loosened the defense up in the second half and, then he got going. That’s what true point guards do.”