LINCOLN, Neb. — Maybe BYU did UConn a favor Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Cougars made the defending national champions squirm in the first half, and they were tied with the Huskies, 37-37, four minutes into the second half.
Ultimately, UConn beat BYU, 70-51, to advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. The Huskies extended their winning streak to 43 games.
Against BYU, UConn faced some adversity, something it’s not accustomed to. Before Saturday, the Huskies had never trailed in the second half all year.
"It was good for us to go through that," said UConn coach Geno Auriemma.
UConn barely broke a sweat in beating its first two tournament opponents by 43 and 49 points, respectively.
Meanwhile, the red-clad Nebraska fans attending the game, having watched the Cougars knock their Cornhuskers out of the tournament last Monday, threw their support behind BYU.
Now, Auriemma might have his team’s attention, and Saturday’s game just might help his players the rest of the tournament.
The Huskies meet No. 3 seed Texas A&M Monday for a shot at the Final Four. The Aggies downed No. 7 DePaul Saturday, 84-65.
“Yeah, there are always one of these games in the tournament. I would hope there is only one,” Auriemma said. “There is going to come a game, whether it is the first one, second one or third one. I have usually found the game on Monday night is really, really hard to win. That has always been the hardest game to win — the game that puts you in the Final Four. Once you get to the Final Four, it is just a coin flip.”