HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — UConn's Amida Brimah, who rarely faces an opponent bigger than he is, took Sunday's matchup with UCF's 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall as a personal challenge. The Huskies' 7-foot senior center finished with nine points, six rebounds and five blocked shots in UConn's 64-49 win. He held Fall scoreless.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — UConn's Amida Brimah, who rarely faces an opponent bigger than he is, took Sunday's matchup with UCF's 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall as a personal challenge.
The Huskies' 7-foot senior center finished with nine points, six rebounds and five blocked shots in UConn's 64-49 win. He held Fall scoreless.
"I knew I had to go hard as soon as the ball went up on tipoff and had to be physical with him," Brimah said. "I'm always ready to play against someone who is taller than me."
The UCF sophomore, promoted by the school as one of the 40 tallest people in the world, came into the game shooting 80 percent from the floor. He had just one attempt from the field on Sunday and finished with just three rebounds. It was the second consecutive game he has been held without a point. East Carolina and its 7-1 center, Andre Washington, shut him down last week.
"He has to grow through these experiences," said UCF coach Johnny Dawkins. "He's a sophomore who has played basketball for five years. He has a world of potential, but potential and that needs to be developed."
UConn guard Rodney Purvis, who had been in a shooting slump, scored 17 points, Vance Jackson added 11 points and Jalen Adams had 10 for the Huskies (6-9, 1-3 American), who snapped a four-game losing streak.
B.J. Taylor had 18 points for UCF, which came in on a five-game winning streak and suffered its first conference loss. Taylor was playing just his second game after missing a month with a broken right thumb. He had seven of UCF's 17 field goals.
The Huskies led by 17 at halftime and by as many as 25 in the second half. UConn, which came into the game shooting 41 percent from the floor, shot 47.4 percent Sunday and held the Knights (12-4, 3-1) to 33.3 percent.
"Chris Paul didn't show up; James Harden didn't show up," said UConn coach Kevin Ollie. "These are the same players. It's just, they started moving the basketball. This is what we've been preaching."
The Huskies got off to a quick start. Purvis hit two 3-pointers from the left corner during a 10-0 opening run. His 3-pointer with just over 4 minutes left in the first half gave the Huskies a 31-12 lead.
"I think I've been waiting for those the whole entire season," Purvis said. "I was happy to see the ball go in and my teammates finding me and just staying confident in myself."
Purvis hit seven of his 13 shots before fouling out with less than two minutes left in the game.
UConn led 35-18 at the half, holding the Knights to just six field goals and 21 percent shooting.
UCF was looking to start the conference season at 4-0 for the first time since 2007-08. The Knights have never finished above .500 in the American Athletic Conference and were 6-12 last season, their best record since the league was formed.
"We just talk about our standards; we don't really talk about the game," Dawkins said. "Of course we all feel bad that we lost the game, but it's all about our standards and how we want to play. If we don't meet those standards, then we go over it tomorrow in practice."
UConn avoided its first five-game losing streak straight since the 2006-07 season. Ollie called this game the most complete the Huskies have played this season.
"You can't be selfish. You can't say, 'Oh we have a bad season, I'm just going to get my numbers,'" he said. "This is not a bad season. It's character-building season."
The Huskies got some disappointing news off the court on Saturday. Highly touted prospect Hamidou Diallo picked Kentucky over UConn. He was cleared by the NCAA to enroll in college for the second semester and there had been speculation the 6-foot-5 wing could get playing time immediately in Connecticut, because of the team's depleted bench. Diallo said he plans to enroll at Kentucky this semester, but won't play until next season.
UCF: The Knights leave the snow and 20 degree weather in Hartford and head back home where they will face Houston on Saturday before a showdown with rival South Florida on Jan. 17.
UConn: The Huskies move back to campus for a home game Wednesday against Temple, then travel to Washington D.C. on Saturday to face former Big East rival Georgetown.
Follow Pat Eaton-Robb on Twitter @peatonrobb