Vital, Bouknight lead UConn to 78-71 win over South Florida

Vital, Bouknight lead UConn to 78-71 win over South Florida
Connecticut's Josh Carlton (25) runs into South Florida's Antun Maricevic (34) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Stephen Dunn)

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Christian Vital scored 24 points and James Bouknight had 16 of his 19 points in the second half to lead UConn past South Florida 78-71 on Sunday.

Jalen Gaffney and Brendan Adams each added 10 points for Connecticut ( 15-12, 6-8 American)

Justin Brown scored 22 points and David Collins added 18 to lead USF ( 11-16, 4-10), which has lost four straight.

The Huskies led by as many as 11 points in the first half and by six points at halftime.

But Bouknight and center Josh Carlton each picked up their third fouls early in the second half and USF hit its first five shots after intermission.

A 3-pointer by Laquincy Rideau tied the game at 38 and a 3-pointer by Madut Akec gave the Bulls their only lead of the second half at 47-46.

A tomahawk dunk from Vital highlighted an 8-2 run that put the Huskies back up 59-53.

But three minutes later, a pair of free throws from David Collins cut UConn’s lead to 65-62.

Vital and Bouknight took over from there.

A step-back 3-pointer from Vital, which sent a defender sprawling, started an 8-0 run that clinched the game. He and Bouknight accounted for 12 of the Huskies final 13 points.

BIG PICTURE:

USF: The Bulls visits to Connecticut have not gone well. USF is now 0-11 the road against UConn and 4-23 all-time against the Huskies.

UConn: The Huskies improved to 61-61 in regular-season play over its seven-years in the American Athletic Conference. They have four more conference games to try and finish their tenure in the AAC with a winning record. UConn is leaving the conference at the end of the season to return to the Big East.

UP NEXT:

USF: The Bulls head home to host East Carolina on Wednesday

UConn: UConn hosts the other Florida team in the AAC, UCF, on Wednesday.

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