NEW ORLEANS - Jalen Adams saw opportunities for his Connecticut teammates in the first half.
In the second half he saw Tulane's defense focusing on them so he created opportunities for himself.
Adams scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half as the Huskies defeated the Green Wave, 67-57, in an American Athletic Conference game Saturday.
Adams had five of his six assists as the Huskies (10-7, 3-2 American) took a 30-22 halftime lead.
"When the defense loosened up he took over in the second half, which is what true point guards do," Huskies coach Kevin Ollie said of Adams. "He did a great job of playing team basketball."
Christian Vital scored 13 points for the Huskies and Josh Carlton had 10 points and six rebounds as UConn had a 35-26 rebounding advantage.
The Huskies made 7 of 14 3-pointers and the Green Wave made 4 of 19.
"We had a lot of good looks, but there were a couple that we settled for," Tulane coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. said. "We didn't do a good enough job of attacking their zone."
Melvin Frazier led the Green Wave (11-6, 2-3) with 16 points, Cameron Reynolds scored 13 and Ray Ona Embo had 12.
Ona Embo scored five consecutive points that helped Tulane start the second half on an 8-1 run that cut the deficit to one.
"We knew they would make a second-half push," Ollie said. "They did and they closed it, but we responded."
Adams' jumper and steal and layup pushed the Huskies lead to 37-32.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Adams and Terry Larrier completed a 9-0 run that gave UConn a 53-41 lead with nine minutes remaining.
The Green Wave crept within nine points, but Adams then scored twice on drives to put the Huskies back in command.
When Tulane cut the deficit to eight with more than a minute to play, UConn ran down the clock and Adams drove in for a layup just before the shot-clock buzzer with 43 seconds left.
"We stayed poised," Adams said. "We knew it would be a game of runs. When we take our time on offense and get a good shot we feel confident that we can rally behind our defense on the other end."
UConn opened an 11-2 lead as Tulane failed to make a field goal during the first 4 1/2 minutes.
Once Ona Embo ended the drought by making a jumper, the Green Wave heated up. They went on a 12-4 run, thanks in part to two 3-pointers by Reynolds, to get within 15-14.
Frazier's dunk gave Tulane its first lead, 20-19, and the score was tied at 22 before the Green Wave went cold again.
Vital made a 3-pointer and scored on a drive during an 8-0 run during the last four minutes of the half.
"Our defense played with a lot of intensity in the first half," Ollie said. "That's when we established ourselves on the defensive end."
WORDS OF WISDOM
Former UConn guard Shabazz Napier, who was in town with his Portland Trail Blazers teammates to play the Pelicans on Friday night, spoke to the Huskies before their game.
"He instilled the UConn pride," Adams said. "He talked to us about playing the game the right way."
The Blazers, who lost to New Orleans, 119-113, didn't leave until Saturday afternoon for their game at Minnesota on Sunday, giving Napier a chance to visit.
"Shabazz talked about what UConn means to him," Ollie said. "He told the players not to think about the next level or what's happened in the past, but to take care of now."
UConn: Won its third consecutive game, prevailing on an opponent's home court for the first time in four games this season.
Tulane: Lost for the third time in four games, falling for just the second time in 10 home games.
UConn: The Huskies travel to face Memphis on Tuesday.
Tulane: The Green Wave will stay at home and face Houston on Wednesday.