The UConn men’s basketball team will play their final home game of the 2017-18 season Wednesday night when Temple visits Gampel Pavilion for a conference clash.
The Huskies (13-16, 6-10 The American) will honor five players, set to play in their final home game, in a pregame ceremony: graduate students Antwoine Anderson, Mike Noyes and David Onuorah, senior Christian Foxen and redshirt junior Terry Larrier.
“Should be a fun night,” UConn head coach Kevin Ollie said after Tuesday’s practice. “Hopefully the crowd comes out and supports the guys like they’ve been doing the whole season, and we give ‘em something to cheer about the whole night.”
Anderson and Onuorah joined the program this offseason as graduate transfers from other schools (Fordham and Cornell, respectively). Both players played four seasons at their previous schools and came to Storrs to give the Huskies some veteran juice.
Anderson has served as the team’s third guard for most of the season, averaging 6.8 points per game on 37 percent shooting while also making 13 starts as UConn shuffled their starting lineup. Onuorah has logged 10.6 minutes per game as a defensive-minded member of the Huskies’ frontcourt.
“They came in and worked, this whole season,” Ollie said of the two grad transfers. “They wore the UConn jersey with pride, and I just appreciate them giving us the opportunity to coach them.”
Noyes and Foxen are walk-ons that joined the team as full-time players before the 2014-15 campaign, having previously served as valuable practice squad members. Noyes has played in 26 games in his UConn career and Foxen has played in 21.
“I think after the game it will hit me,” Noyes said. “It’s been a fun four years, and hopefully this season won’t come to an end too soon. I mean, UConn and March, they go together, so hopefully we play well.”
Larrier transferred to UConn in 2015 after playing his freshman year at VCU and was forced to sit out a season due to NCAA transfer rules. He made his UConn debut last season but played just four games before suffering a torn ACL which kept him out the rest of the way
The 6-foot-8 forward has been mostly healthy this season, and he has been the team’s third-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game. He shoots 40 percent from the field and 38 percent from 3-point range, while pulling down 4.5 boards per game.
“My time here has been great, it’s been fun,” Larrier said. “I just want to go out tomorrow and get the win, play hard, and just enjoy the game with my teammates.”
Larrier reiterated after practice that Wednesday would be his final game at Gampel, but he still has a year of eligibility remaining and could change his mind. Regardless, he will be honored as a senior with the other four players.
“We’ll welcome him back with open arms if he decides to stay,” Ollie said of Larrier.
Anderson, Onuorah, Noyes, Foxen and Larrier will be honored, along with head manager Joe Spellman, before the game in a ceremony scheduled to begin at 6:40 p.m. UConn and Temple are then scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
Last time out, the Huskies fell 83-79 to Memphis at Gampel Pavilion after falling behind by as many as 23 points. Temple is coming off a 75-56 home win over UCF.
Both teams are jockeying for positions in the conference standings with only a couple of days left in the regular season. Entering Wednesday, UConn sits in ninth place and Temple in sixth. The final standings will determine the seeds at next weekend’s American Athletic Conference Championship in Orlando, Florida.
Quinton Rose leads the Owls in 15.0 points per game with Shizz Alston (13.2 points) and Obi Enechionyia (10.9 points) close behind. Point guard Josh Brown is the team leader in assists at 3.4 helpers per game.
UConn, 10-5 at home this season with a 6-2 mark at Gampel, faces an uphill climb as they try to win one in front of the home fans on Senior Night.
“We just got to be disciplined, we got to be alert, and we got to have great effort,” Ollie said. “Especially Senior Night, hopefully these guys understand and honor our seniors the right way.”