Men's Basketball: The good and bad from UConn’s exhibition win over New Haven

Freshman forward Steven Enoch goes up for a shot during UConn's 83-43 victory over New Haven at the XL Center on Nov. 7, 2015. Enoch scored seven straight points for the Huskies in the second half. (Ashley Maher/The Daily Campus). 

Hartford —The UConn men’s basketball team rounded out its exhibition schedule against Division II New Haven on Saturday afternoon.

The Huskies cruised to an 83-43 victory of the Chargers in front of 7,518 fans at the XL Center. UConn defeated the University of Tampa last weekend.

Let’s take a look at the good and bad from Saturday’s game against New Haven.

The Good

The freshmen

Through two exhibition games, UConn’s two freshmen have looked extremely comfortable.

Jalen Adams, from Roxbury, Massachusetts, scored all nine of his points (4 of 7 shooting) in the first half on Saturday. Once again, head coach Kevin Ollie brought Adams off the bench and he provided a spark for the Huskies. Adams was able to get inside the paint easily for most of his points.

“I think Jalen played better,” Ollie said. “He didn’t have the turnovers that he had the first game. That’s what we want our freshman to see.”

At one point in the first half, Adams scored five straight points to give UConn a 20-15 lead. Against Tampa last week, Adams had five turnovers. He had none on Saturday.

“I definitely felt a lot more poised out there, just getting used to the game and the speed, Adams said. “Me and coach have been working on not turning the ball over at all.”

Steven Enoch, from Norwalk, Connecticut, scored 11 points (4 of 4 shooting). He looked extremely comfortable in the post, showing his versatility with a hook shot and a few dunks.

“I went way harder than I did last game,” Enoch said. “I moved my feet a lot more than I did last game. I used my arms too much last game and my upper body. [With] these new sets of rules you have to learn how to use your lower body more often.”

The starters

Ollie used the same starting lineup as he did a week ago against Tampa: Amida Brimah, Rodney Purvis, Shonn Miller, Sterling Gibbs and Daniel Hamilton.

It looks like this is going to be Ollie’s go-to lineup when the regular season starts on Friday. Before the first media timeout on Saturday, every starter had scored a basket to give UConn an early 11-3 lead.

Purvis scored 11 points, Brimah and Hamilton scored nine, Miller had eight and Gibbs added five. With the versatility that this lineup has — as well as other lineups — UConn is able to score in a multitude of ways.

“We’re just out there trying to play to our strengths,” Purvis said. “Coach knows everyone’s strengths, he’s going to put everybody in a position to look well. We’re all just out there enjoying the moment, just having a good time playing with each other.”

Balance

Similar to the Tampa game, Ollie used many different lineups. Not counting the walk-ons that played, Ollie used 11 guys on Saturday.

Purvis and Enoch led the team with 11 points each but UConn had seven players score eight points or more.

“Just to see the balance that we had, to see 24 fast break points, 56 points in the paint, that’s what I want to see,” Ollie said. “I put on the board that I want to have a return on our investment and I think our guys have really invested in the summer and are working tremendously hard in practice. It was good to see everyone out there having fun and being able to get in the books and score the basketball.”

The Bad

There wasn’t a lot of bad that came out of UConn’s 40-point win Saturday.

One thing that stood out was the 3-point shooting. The Huskies shot just 15 percent (2 of 13) from beyond the arc. Most of their points came from inside the paint (56).

Hamilton and Sam Cassell Jr. were the only two players to make a 3-point shot.

The Huskies did allow the Chargers to score a lot of points late in the shot clock, but most of those were on 3-pointers hoisted up in the last few seconds. UConn had nine turnovers and gave up six offensive rebounds.

Through about a month of practice and two exhibition games, Maine awaits UConn on Friday night to open the regular season.

“I got another week of practice. I love that,” Ollie said. “We’re going to get after it, assess it. I just want to be well prepared and over prepared. We put in a lot of sets that we didn’t show tonight. I just really want to be understanding of our opponent and what they want to do and what they cherish. If we know what they cherish and we take that away from them, we have an advantage.”


Matt Zampini is sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at matthew.zampini@uconn.edu. He tweets  @Matt_Zamp.