SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Ryan Boatright had 20 points, Rodney Purvis added 19 and No. 17 Connecticut rallied from five points down in the second half to defeat Dayton 75-64 in the semifinals of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Friday.
The Huskies (3-0) led by as many as 10 in the first half, but had to fight off runs by the Flyers throughout the second half.
Connecticut 7-footer Amida Brimah added four blocks.
The Flyers (2-1) used their quickness to briefly put the Huskies behind, but turnovers and empty offensive possessions down the stretch proved costly. Jordan Sibert led Dayton with 18 points.
The second half was full of effort plays on both sides.
During one sequence Dyshawn Pierre got a steal at midcourt, drove and missed a layup, and rebounded it twice in traffic before finally getting it to drop as he was fouled. He then coolly completed the three-point play.
Later, it was Connecticut’s turn with Brimah blocking point-blank layup attempts three times by Dayton players at the rim, forcing a shot clock violation.
The play helped ignite the Huskies, who took a 70-62 lead with just over two minutes to play.
Dayton had the last of several back-and-forth spurts to end the first half, capped by a fast break dunk by Kendall Pollard that gave the Flyers a two-point lead with less than a minute to play.
It erased what had been a 10-point deficit early in the half.
But Pollard was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim during the play, allowing the Huskies to go into halftime tied after connecting on the two free throws.
The half was played at a rapid pace throughout and featured five lead changes and five ties.
Dayton: The Flyers shot just 28 percent (8 for 28) in the second half after shooting 53 percent (14 for 26) in the first.
Connecticut: In a tight game, the Huskies were mostly unflappable at the free-throw line, connecting on 19 of 23 attempts.
Connecticut plays the winner of Boston College and West Virginia in the championship game on Sunday.
Dayton gets the loser of that game for third place.
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