CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP)—Hasheem Thabeet and the second-ranked Connecticut Huskies overpowered Miami in the Paradise Jam semifinals.
The 7-foot-3 Thabeet had 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting, and added 14 rebounds and seven blocks in 32 minutes in Connecticut’s 76-63 victory over No. 17 Miami on Sunday night.
“It’s not about me hitting the first shot or the last shot,” Thabeet said. “I give credit to my teammates and my coaches for executing the plays.”
A.J. Price added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Huskies (4-0), set to face No. 25 Wisconsin—a 64-49 winner over San Diego—on Monday in the final of the eight-team tournament. Miami (2-1) will play San Diego in the third-place game.
“When the big fellow plays like that, we can contend with any team in the country,” Price said.
Jack McClinton had 27 points for the Hurricanes, and Dwayne Collins added 16 points and 14 rebounds. McClinton was 5-for-8 from 3-point range.
“They played hard,” Miami coach Frank Haith said. “They played extremely hard.”
The Huskies shot 47.5 percent, while holding the Canes to 35.3 percent, and had a 48-30 advantage in points in the paint.
“A.J. rebounded well, we’re just going to need a little more help for Hasheem,” Huskies coach Jim Calhoun said. “Hasheem took the gamble. … It seemed like he blocked everybody.”