UConn shocked by New Mexico State as Teddy Allen pours in 37 points

·2 min read

UConn turned in a major disappointment for the second consecutive men's NCAA tournament.

The Huskies, the No. 5 seed in the West region, were upset 70-63 by No. 12 seed New Mexico State on Thursday night in Buffalo. It marked the second straight season that UConn saw its season end in the tournament’s first round.

Last year, in its first NCAA tournament appearance under head coach Dan Hurley, UConn fell to Maryland 63-54 as a No. 7 seed.

This time around, the Huskies ran into Teddy Allen.

New Mexico State guard Teddy Allen (0) shoots against Connecticut forward Tyler Polley (12) during the second half of a college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA men's tournament Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
New Mexico State guard Teddy Allen (0) shoots against Connecticut forward Tyler Polley (12) during the second half of a college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA men's tournament Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

UConn fell behind by 10 points at halftime and did not have enough to complete the comeback against Allen and the Aggies, the champions of the Western Athletic Conference.

New Mexico State set the tone early by controlling the glass and getting a scoring burst from the well-traveled Allen, who played for West Virginia and Nebraska before landing at NMSU. Allen scored 15 first-half points to help his team jump out to a 32-22 halftime lead. From there, it was an uphill climb for UConn.

The Huskies would tie the score twice in the second half — first at 52-52 with 5:08 to play and then at 58-58 with 2:06. But Allen made play after play down the stretch to complete the upset.

Allen scored New Mexico State’s final 15 points. Included in that stretch was the go-ahead 3-pointer at the 1:38 mark, 10 straight free-throw attempts without a miss and a driving and-one layup that put the Aggies up 66-60 with 28 seconds to go.

In all, Allen poured in 37 points to give New Mexico State its first NCAA tournament victory since 1993. Before Thursday night, the Aggies had lost 12 straight games in the big dance.

Now, the Aggies will move on to face No. 4 Arkansas, which eked out a win over No. 13 Vermont late Thursday. With a win there, New Mexico State would advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1992.

UConn, meanwhile, has lost its past three NCAA tournament games, dating back to 2016. Thursday night’s result is a brutal ending to what was a strong season for the Huskies, who are in their second season back in the Big East. With the loss, UConn finishes 23-10.