Men’s Basketball: Ranking the 10 worst games of the year, featuring Wednesday’s survival over USF

Christian Vital (#1) rises up for a layup in Wednesday's game against USF. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The UConn men’s basketball team has had some truly ugly outings this season. The Huskies have been destroyed by elite teams and embarrassed by merely good ones, while barely slipping past some of the country’s worst.

They added to that list Wednesday at Gampel Pavilion, scraping by AAC cellar dweller USF 68-65 despite nearly collapsing in the final minute. Let’s see where that stinker ranks among the season’s worst.

10. 77-73 overtime win over Columbia on Nov. 29 at Gampel

Ivy League opponent Columbia came to Storrs to meet the Huskies in their first game without Alterique Gilbert, and led by 11 points at the half before UConn roared back to slip away in overtime. Lukas Meisner had 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Lions, who lost their next five games to drop to 1-10.

9. 90-88 two-overtime loss to Tulsa on Jan. 3 in Oklahoma

Fresh off a home loss in their conference opener against Wichita State, UConn went on the road and looked like they would get on the board in AAC play, but the Golden Hurricane had other ideas. A heavily-contested 3-pointer denied the Huskies the win in regulation before they shot themselves in the foot with a turnover in overtime, and Terry Larrier’s game-winning try in the second overtime wouldn’t go.

8. 65-57 loss to Cincinnati on Feb. 3 at Gampel

Two years ago, UConn had the last laugh over Cincinnati in the AAC tournament quarterfinals with Jalen Adams’ buzzer beater. But a lot has changed in two years. The Bearcats, currently ranked No. 6 in the country, came into UConn’s den and held the Huskies without a field goal for almost eight minutes to start the game.

7. 70-65 win over ECU on Jan. 6 in Hartford

East Carolina (No. 306 in KenPom) shares a room with USF in the American’s cellar, but they looked like equals when they came to Connecticut earlier this year. The Pirates even outshot UConn from the field. The Huskies barely held on to grind out their first conference win.

6. 89-64 loss to Auburn on Dec. 23 in Alabama

Auburn was just another Power Five team feasting on cupcakes when UConn came to town two days before Christmas, drawing a huge home crowd. After that unrelenting blitz, Bruce Pearl’s team has lost just once, shooting up to No. 8 in the AP poll.

5. 73-49 loss to Memphis on Jan. 16 in Tennessee

Being blitzed in a foreign arena is a common theme on this list. In their first of a couple games without Terry Larrier, the Huskies’ offense was truly horrendous as the Tigers controlled the game and led from wire to wire.

4. 68-65 win over USF Wednesday at Gampel

(Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

A missed 3-pointer at the buzzer allowed UConn to avoid overtime Wednesday night against a conference opponent ranked No. 318 in the nation in KenPom despite winning the shooting battle by a 16 percent margin. With Terrence Samuel in the building as a USF grad transfer to bring back memories of that magical 2014 championship run, the Huskies delivered perhaps their most uninspiring win of the season.

3. 72-59 win over Coppin State on Dec. 9 at Gampel

Or, it would be the most uninspiring win, but we’re going further down the KenPom rankings, all the way down to No. 343 Coppin State. Behind an absurd effort from Lamar Morgan (30 points, 7-for-11 from 3-point range), one of the nation’s 10 worst teams led by as many eight in an abominable game that was closer than the final score suggests.

2. 85-57 loss to Temple on Jan. 28 in Philadelphia

“The vibes are still good,” Kevin Ollie said after this nightmare, which represented the sixth time this season UConn lost by 20 or more points. In the program’s 115-year history, that hadn’t happened until now.

1. 102-67 loss to Arkansas on Nov. 26 in the PK80 Invitational

102 points. 60 percent shooting. 58 percent from 3-point range. Those are just some of the gaudy numbers posted by the SEC’s eighth-best team in this embarrassment, which wiped away all the goodwill UConn earned by beating Oregon on their home turf three days earlier.

Honorable Mentions: Stony Brook, Monmouth, Syracuse, Villanova


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