Everyone knows how last season started for the UConn men’s basketball team.
Losses to Wagner and Northeastern started the Huskies off 0-2, add in some injuries to some key players and the season was over before it really started.
It started to look like more of the same Tuesday night as the Huskies played behind to Stony Brook for the majority of the game. Luckily for head coach Kevin Ollie, this isn’t last year’s team.
“We definitely would not have won that game last year,” Ollie said after the game. “This team right here shows resilience, shows heart. We don’t want to be in them situations but just to be in them early, show we can come back and play UConn basketball, it was a great feat for our guys.”
No one on the court showed more resiliency than Jalen Adams. Coming off his one-game suspension, the junior point guard was held scoreless in the first half before exploding in the second for 19 points, almost single-handedly winning the game for UConn.
“It was a big for me just to see one go in. Shots weren’t really falling in the [first] half, but I knew they would,” Adams said. “My teammates kept me high on myself and they kept motivating me to keep attacking.”
The motivation certainly worked as the Huskies stormed back from a six-point halftime deficit for the 72-64 victory. The second half was capped off by a 17-0 run spearheaded by nine from Adams.
“We were tested early and our guys showed they got guts,” Ollie said. “Jalen finally got his wake up call in the second half, he was sensational. [David Onuarah] was setting good screens and I thought [Tyler Polley] hit a big shot in the second half that really got us going.”
The win featured Cornell-transfer David Onuarah’s first game as a Husky. The 6-foot-9, 249 pound forward sat out the season-opener with an injury but played important minutes in the second half of this contest. Onuarah set countless screens working to get Adams to the basket.
“I think it’s a simple thing to do, to set a good screen,” Onuarah said. “To get your teammate open and it works to get myself open too. That’s where I need to get my quickness back, but I felt really good today.”
Redshirt freshman Alterique Gilbert played a great complement role to Adams on the night. The guard totaled 14 points just second behind Adams’s 19.
“Jalen stepped up really big time. [Onuarah] stepped up. We all came together as a team, that really brought a lot of light to our team,” Gilbert said.
Going forward UConn’s schedule will get a lot more difficult than Stony Brook with opponents like Oregon, Arizona and Michigan State all looming in the future. Ollie will need a lot more of the Jalen Adams he saw in tonight’s second half.
“I thought JA stepped up and was the leader and All-American that we all know he is,” Ollie said.