Men’s Basketball: UConn vs. USF preview capsule

Rodney Purvis drives to the hoop in a January 28th, 2017 game against Tulane at Gampel Pavilion. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

Time and Place: 7 p.m. Wednesday at Gampel Pavilion

Where to Watch: CBS Sports Network, channel 67 on Storrs TV listings

Last Meeting: UConn won 81-60, on Jan. 25 at the Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.

All-Time Series: UConn leads 17-2

UConn’s Last Time Out: 82-68 loss at Cincinnati last Saturday

USF’s Last Time Out: 83-74 loss at Temple last Sunday

Projected Starting Lineups: UConn (10-12, 5-5 The American) vs. USF (6-16, 0-11 The American)

G: Jalen Adams vs. Geno Thorpe

Adams leads the American with 6.6 assists per game, a mark that ranks ninth overall in Division I. Thorpe, the Bulls’ leader in points and assists, torched Temple in Sunday’s loss, scoring 25 points on 11-for-19 shooting while adding six assists and three steals.

G: Rodney Purvis vs. Michael Bibby

Purvis was a bright spot in Saturday’s loss to Cincinnati, scoring 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting. Bibby got off to a fast-shooting start in the first meeting with UConn, hitting three 3-pointers in the first half as USF jumped out to an early lead.

F: Vance Jackson vs. Luis Santos

Jackson continues to light up the American from behind the arc, shooting 50 percent from long range in conference play (38 percent overall). Santos recorded three blocks against Temple, and is the Bulls’ second-leading blocker with 20 this season.

F: Kentan Facey vs. Bo Zeigler

Facey struggled immensely against Cincinnati, scoring just two points on 1-for-8 shooting while pulling down just four rebounds. Zeigler went scoreless in 12 minutes against Temple, while Tulio Da Silva came off the bench to score 18 points on 9-for-12 shooting.

C: Amida Brimah vs. Malik Fitts

Brimah stayed out of foul trouble against Cincinnati, hanging in the game to post 16 points, five rebounds and two blocks. Fitts was named the American Rookie of the Week this past week after delivering a monstrous 29-point, 11-rebound performance against Memphis.

Talking Points

Facey’s Fallback: After torching lesser conference opponents in recent weeks, Facey had very little impact against Cincinnati, finishing with just two points and four rebounds in 31 minutes as the Huskies were routed by the American’s best team. The much-improved senior will have a chance to bounce back against the dismal Bulls in front of a Gampel Pavilion crowd that he ignited with a huge fast break dunk against Tulane Jan. 28 in the Huskies’ last game in their on-campus digs.

Home Sweet Home: Since a 62-46 loss to Houston in their conference opener at the XL Center Dec. 28, UConn has been quite good when playing in front of their home fans. The Huskies are on a four-game home winning streak, and have reached the 70-point mark in three of those four games. Those wins have come against the American’s weaker teams, but competition will improve greatly as UConn closes their home slate with matchups against Memphis, SMU and Cincinnati, which have all beaten the Huskies this season.

That’s Bull: USF is winless in 11 conference games this season, and only two of those losses have come by less than double digits. When they hosted UConn Jan. 25, it looked as if they could pull off their first American win as they took a lead early in the second half, but the Huskies responded with arguably their best half of the season and won 81-60.

The K.O. Report: Quotes from UConn head coach Kevin Ollie

On USF’s 51-point second half against Temple: “They playing every possession hard. Whatever they did in Temple, it got my attention before the Temple game. They just play hard, they’re aggressive on the offensive end, defensive end…we got to show a lot more toughness then we showed in Cincinnati to come out here with a great win.”

On the return of Steven Enoch and Juwan Durham from injury: “Looking back on it in hindsight, I probably should not have played them because they didn’t really practice and participate the whole week against Cincinnati but, you know, they wanted to play…Probably [would have] did it different if I had to do it over again, but I think they full strength now, but they got to break into the rotation.”

On the second half spiral against Cincinnati: “They just went on a spurt and kinda broke our will. We can’t allow our will to be broke, no matter if they’re making threes or not. We gotta continue to fight, and you know, we’ll do that. You know, I really believe in this team, I love this team, they’ve been through too much to give up now, and they not gonna give up.”


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