PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Adama Sanogo scored 11 of his 25 points during a decisive run midway through the second half and No. 20 UConn pulled away for an 82-67 victory over No. 18 Alabama in the semifinals of the Phil Knight Invitational on Friday night.
UConn will face Iowa State in the championship game, while Alabama will take on No. 1 North Carolina in the third-place game Sunday.
While whistles calling fouls was the dominant sound most of the night, the cheers of the UConn crowd took over in the final 10 minutes as Sanogo and the Huskies finally created some separation. The 6-foot-9 forward helped UConn (7-0) turn a 50-50 tie into a 63-53 lead with 5:32 left. Sango punctuated the 13-3 surge with a fast-break dunk and a 3-pointer.
UConn wasn’t done. Tristian Newton added another 3-pointer out of a timeout, Sanogo scored in the lane to stretch the lead to 15 and Alex Karaban capped the run with a 3-pointer to give the Huskies a 71-54 lead with under four minutes remaining.
Sanogo was averaging nearly 20 points per game and topped the 20-point mark for the fourth time in seven games. Jordan Hawkins added 16 points, Karaban had 12, and Joey Calcaterra scored 10 off the bench and helped spark a first-half run when the Huskies built a 15-point lead.
Brandon Miller led Alabama (5-1) with 18 points and Jaden Bradley added 12. But it was a sloppy performance from the Crimson Tide that included 21 turnovers, 16 in the first half.
The Crimson Tide trailed 33-18 late in the first half and pulled even four times in the second half. But Alabama never led after it was 3-2 in the opening minutes.
The teams also went to the foul line -- a lot. There were 47 combined fouls and UConn was 17-for-18 at the foul line in the second half.
UConn: The Huskies valued their offensive possessions in the second half. After 10 turnovers in the first half, UConn had just two in the final 20 minutes. That kept Alabama from getting out in transition.
Alabama: The Tide were trying to start 6-0 for the first time since 2012-13 season. They were leading the country in rebounds per game but ended up having just a 35-32 advantage on the glass against the Huskies.