Men’s Basketball: UConn vs. Tulane preview capsule

Sophomore guard Jalen Adams attempts to dodge two ECU players during the Huskies 72-65 victory over the Pirates at the XL Center on Jan. 22, 2016. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus)

Time and Place: 8 p.m. Saturday at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs

Where to Watch: ESPNU, channel 50.2 on Storrs TV listings

Last Meeting: UConn won 60-42, on Jan. 19, 2016 at the XL Center in Hartford

UConn’s Last Time Out: 81-60 win at USF Wednesday

Tulane’s Last Time Out: 65-51 win at Houston Tuesday

Projected Starting Lineups: UConn (9-11, 4-4 The American) vs. Tulane (4-16, 1-7 The American)

G: Jalen Adams vs. Malik Morgan

Adams, who continues to be the straw that stirs the Huskies’ drink, stuffed the stat sheet against USF, posting 20 points and 12 assists while adding five rebounds and two steals. Morgan leads Tulane in assists, averaging 3.8 helpers per game.

G: Rodney Purvis vs. Rey Ona Embo

After scoring just one point in the first half against USF, Purvis came alive for 13 in the second half, including a 3-for-4 mark from 3-point range. Ona Embo scored just three points in Tuesday’s loss to Houston.

F: Vance Jackson vs. Melvin Frazier

Jackson is shooting an overall 38 percent from 3-point range, but an astonishing 52 percent from behind the arc in American Athletic Conference play. Frazier averages a steal and a half per game for the Green Wave.

F: Kentan Facey vs. Cameron Reynolds

Facey again entered double digits with 12 points against USF, but turned the ball over a team-high four times. Reynolds leads Tulane in both scoring and rebounding, but shot just 5-for-17 from the field in Tuesday’s loss to Houston.

C: Amida Brimah vs. Ryan Smith

Brimah played 37 minutes against USF, well above his season average of 23.6 minutes per game, as he managed to avoid heavy foul trouble. Smith leads Tulane with 2.2 offensive rebounds per game.

Talking Points

Better With Time: The Huskies struggled to find a rhythm in the first half against USF, allowing the Bulls to hit a number of jump shots, but turned up the energy and effort in the second half en route to their second 20-point victory of the season. Despite racking up the minutes on their six-man rotation, required by a litany of injury troubles, UConn outscored USF 38-16 over the game’s final 15:43.

Vital Signs: Freshman guard Christian Vital had a quietly great game against USF, scoring 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting, including a 5-for-7 mark from 3-point range. Vital also added five steals. Pressed into far more action than expected this season, Vital has steadily improved and his effort Wednesday showed his growth.

Growing Pains: Tulane has had a difficult time this season under first-year head coach Mike Dunleavy, who is coaching in college ball for the first time in his 28-year coaching career. The Green Wave have endured five-game and six-game losing streaks this season, and they enter Saturday having lost their last four times out by a combined 54 points. Those losses came to SMU, Tulsa, Cincinnati and Houston, so the Huskies represent lesser competition, but trips to Gampel Pavilion are usually difficult for opponents.  

Riding Reynolds: Reynolds, a 6-foot-7 redshirt junior, does most of the heavy lifting for a Tulane team that boasts 12 underclassmen. He leads the team with 15.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, while averaging 13.4 shot attempts per game. Reynolds shoots 41 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3-point range.


Tyler Keating is associate sports editor for The Daily Campus, covering football and men’s basketball. He can be reached via email at tyler.keating@uconn.edu. He tweets @tylerskeating