The UConn men’s basketball team will conclude a three-game exhibition slate Sunday evening when they take on Queens (N.Y.) at Gampel Pavilion.
The Huskies have split their first pair of warmup contests, with a 90-76 loss to Providence last Wednesday before a 79-63 win over Merrimack on Monday.
Against Merrimack, the Huskies cleaned up some of the offensive issues that plagued them in game one. Forward Terry Larrier, returning from an ACL injury that cost him the entire 2016-17 season, was efficient as a scorer with 17 points after a horrid shooting performance against Providence. The Huskies also got some offensive contributions inside from Mamadou Diarra and Isaiah Whaley.
“Just proud of the guys and how they handled themselves today,” UConn head coach Kevin Ollie said after the game. “And everybody that came off the bench, 35 points for my bench. I thought that was a big lift that we didn’t have against Providence.”
The defensive side of the ball is a larger question mark. UConn suffered several breakdowns on pick-and-rolls that allowed Merrimack open looks in the paint, and lazily contested 3-pointers as they did against Providence. The impending return of graduate transfer David Onuorah, who hasn’t played yet due to a hip injury, may add some rim protection.
Star guard Jalen Adams wasn’t very active against Merrimack, taking just five shots in 26 minutes. Christian Vital, who returns along with Adams as a significant contributor from last season, went 4-for-10 from the field and 1-for-6 from 3-point range. Alterique Gilbert went 4-for-12 in 29 minutes of action.
Sunday, UConn will take on Queens of Division II’s East Coast Conference. Queens was picked eighth out of 10 teams in the ECC Preseason Poll. The Huskies are 54-7 in exhibition games and have not lost one at home since 1993.
UConn and Queens will tip off at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies will host an open practice Friday at 6 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. for students.
Tyler Keating is the sports editor for The Daily Campus, covering men’s basketball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @tylerskeating.