BOSTON — A neutral site Sweet 16 matchup Thursday between top-seeded UConn and No. 5 San Diego State practically turned into a home game for the Huskies with their fan base coming to TD Garden in droves.

UConn head coach Dan Hurley wasn’t going to apologize for any advantage that provided.

“The committee didn’t give that to us,” Hurley said after the Huskies dominated the Aztecs with an 82-52 win. “We had to win a (expletive) ton of games to get that.”

Many of UConn’s fans made the 90-minute trip from the Storrs, Conn., campus and surrounding area to see the Huskies battle San Diego State — the Aztecs fan base didn’t have the same luxury with their school nearly 3,000 miles away from Boston — in a rematch of last year’s national title game. They had plenty to cheer about, too, with UConn notching its 34th win of the season, which matched a program record.

Story continues below advertisement

UConn and its fans made all the noise in the second half to send the Aztecs out on a whimper. The Huskies doubled up San Diego State, 42-21, over the final 20 minutes to turn a nine-point halftime lead into a rout.

“It means a lot just to be able to travel with our fans. We travel very well,” said UConn freshman guard Stephon Castle, who posted a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. “I feel like it gives us kind of a boost, a little bit of an advantage. Our coach said before, we tried to make it like Storrs North. They showed out for us, and it was definitely electric in there tonight.”

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

The Aztecs clearly faded in the second half as they got beaten down on the boards — UConn grabbed 21 offensive rebounds and held a 50-29 rebounding advantage — and they couldn’t find their stroke from 3-point range, either, shooting 22.7% (5-for-22) from beyond the arc for the game.

The long travel could have played a factor in the Aztecs wilting in the second half, but San Diego State head coach Brian Dutcher wasn’t going to let being far from home serve as an excuse.

Story continues below advertisement

“There was just a lot more UConn,” Dutcher said. “So, no, the tournament is the tournament. Like I said, would we rather be sitting at home or jump on a five-and-a-half hour flight? Like we said yesterday, we would take a 10-hour flight to be here. We’re so proud to be here and represent San Diego State University and try to do it the right way, play hard as long as we can. And only one team is leaving this event happy, and that’s going to be the national champ.”

Featured image via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images