Men’s Basketball: Huskies welcome USF in midst of another slide

Junior guard Jalen Adams (4) fights off Cincinnati defenders during the Huskies 65-57 loss to the Bearcats in Gampel Pavilion on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. Adams leads the team in points and assists. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The UConn men’s basketball team will look to snap a three-game losing streak Wednesday night when they host American Athletic Conference opponent USF at Gampel Pavilion in the only regular-season meeting between the two team.

The Huskies (11-12, 4-6 The American) have lost three straight and five of their last six, pushing them further down the AAC standings with eight regular-season conference games remaining. UConn is coming off another painful loss Saturday, as No. 6 Cincinnati came to Storrs and dominated from start to finish for a 65-57 win.

USF (8-16, 1-10 The American) sits at the bottom of the AAC standings despite holding a record above .500 in non-conference play. The Bulls have also lost three straight games, part of a slide that has seen them lose 10 of their last 11. Their only conference win came against Tulane.

With hated rival Cincinnati at Gampel Saturday afternoon, UConn delivered another stinker in a season full of them. The Huskies shot 36 percent from the field and logged just five assists. They didn’t get their first basket for almost eight minutes. With a couple baskets in the final minute, they narrowly avoided the lowest-scoring half in program history.

At the end of the day, UConn was dealt their first Gampel loss of the season after a series of narrow scrapes against Columbia, Coppin State and other opponents that played confidently on Alumni Court.

Leading scorer and assist-getter Jalen Adams (17.7 points, 4.1 assists) remained positive after the loss.

“I’m always positive because I know what this team is capable of. I think if we put a full 40 minutes together and we show spurts of a good team and other spurts of a team that isn’t really capable so that’s really frustrating but always positive with our team,” Adams said.

In the last few weeks, UConn has run into two top-10 teams in Villanova and Cincinnati, and another waits this weekend when the Huskies go to Wichita State. However, they will get a reprieve from the onslaught Wednesday against USF, which hasn’t improved much from an awful campaign last season.

The Bulls, ranked No. 322 out of 351 Division I teams by the KenPom college basketball rating system, are coming off a 63-54 loss to Tulsa on Sunday. East Carolina beat them by 38 points. They have yet to win a conference game at home, though they won’t get a chance Wednesday.

Stephan Jiggetts is the Bulls’ leading scorer at 12.4 points per game, while Payton Banks is close behind with 12.2 points per game. Tulio Da Silva leads USF with 5.6 rebounds per game.

UConn fans will see a familiar face return as Terrence Samuel returns to UConn. Samuel transferred to Penn State after the 2014-15 season, and helped the Huskies during their championship run the previous season. He joined USF as a graduate transfer.

This season, Samuel is averaging 7.7 points and 3.9 rebounds in 29.5 minutes per game.

UConn and USF will tip-off at 7 p.m. at Gampel Pavilion Wednesday. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.


Tyler Keating is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at tyler.keating@uconn.edu. He tweets @tylerskeating.