Purvis Scores 28, UConn Beats SMU 81-73

Rodney Purvis' game is coming together at the right time for the Huskies

SMU UConn Basketball
AP Photo/Jessica Hill

Early in the season, when Rodney Purvis was struggling to find his way, coach Kevin Ollie described the NC State transfer as like having a "Ferrari in the garage." We're not sure if Ollie or Ryan Boatright is Ferris Bueller in the metaphor that is falling apart around us, but the Ferrari's out of the garage and speeding through the streets of Chicago like a finely tuned machine.

The latest proof: Sunday night, Purvis hung 28 points on 21st-ranked SMU, giving the Huskies the momentum they will desperately need as they make an NCAA Tournament push. And as Boatright made clear several weeks ago, the only way that happens is if UConn wins the AAC Tournament. Purvis will need to be a big part of that.

“I’ve been waiting on him to prove to himself that he can do it,” Boatright said after the SMU game, via SNY.com. “I knew he could do. I’ve seen him play like that plenty of times in the summer time. When Bazz (Shabazz Napier) and Kemba (Walker) come back, he competes. He stopped thinking so much and let his athleticism and instincts take over tonight. ...

“It’s growing pains," Boatright continued. He really only played one full year of college basketball and he sat our last year, had surgery and saw us make an unbelievable run. He got that pressure from the Ferrari, I think early in the year he had his ups and downs. You have to go through those things. I went through it last year, ups and downs. Last year wasn’t my best year but I stayed with it and we finished strong.”

“It’s been tough,” Purvis conceded. “Just staying patient and staying ready, because it has been a tough time for our whole team, not just me individually. We’ve been struggling as a team. For us to come together at this point of the season when we needed to, there is no better timer to come together. ”

But against SMU, it all came together.

“I came out aggressive,” said Purvis, who scored from everywhere on the court. “That’s been the coaches’ pitch to me, stay aggressive at all times. As long as I am aggressive that is all that matters.”

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