The UConn men’s basketball team will bring an end to a difficult 2017-18 regular season Sunday afternoon when they travel to face No. 25 Houston for the only season’s only scheduled meeting between the Huskies and the Cougars.
UConn (14-16, 7-10 The American) will play their ninth game of the season against teams ranked in the AP poll, having gone winless in the previous eight. They are 2-8 this season in true road games, with wins over Tulane and East Carolina.
The Huskies were very successful their last time out, as they picked up an impressive 72-66 win over one of the conference’s best teams (Temple) on Senior Night at Gampel Pavilion. Jalen Adams (25 points, eight assists, two turnovers) had one of his finest outings to power UConn’s offense, while stout interior defense kept the Owls from getting a foothold in the paint.
Terry Larrier added 13 points for the Huskies, while Antwoine Anderson chipped in 10. Larrier and Anderson were honored in pregame Senior Night festivities, along with David Onuorah, Christian Foxen and Mike Noyes.
Adams remains the team’s leading scorer at 18.4 points per game, with Christian Vital and Larrier trailing behind at 14.7 and 13.8 points, respectively. Adams hands out 4.6 assists per game, while the 6-foot-2 Vital somehow remains the leading rebounder at 5.4 rebounds per game.
Houston (23-6, 13-4) has been very good in conference play, and look likely to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Their best moment came on Feb. 15, when they beat Cincinnati (then ranked No. 5) at home. The Cougars won 69-56 at SMU their last time out.
Rob Gray leads Houston with 17.7 points per game, while also posting 3.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.2 steals on 54 percent shooting. Three other players – Corey Davis Jr., Devin David and Armoni Brooks – average double digits in scoring. Davis is the leading rebounder at 6.1 boards per game.
Last season, Houston won both regular season meetings between these two teams, but UConn got the last laugh with a 74-65 win in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Championship in Hartford. The Huskies’ run didn’t last much longer, as they lost 81-71 the next day to Cincinnati.
This year’s AAC Championship begins next Thursday in Orlando, with the Huskies set to play on the opening day. Houston has secured a first-round bye and won’t play until Friday.
But first, this Sunday’s game between UConn and Houston is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the H&PE Arena in Houston, Texas.