The UConn men’s basketball didn’t get much of a challenge in their final exhibition game before the start of the season. They went 42-for-76 from the floor and 9-for-12 from the free throw line in an ugly 100-43 blowout over Queens College.
The Huskies scored 28 straight points before Queens made a shot from the floor, holding them to 0-for-13 in the first 15 minutes of the game. UConn forced 16 turnovers in 10 minutes.
“Our pressure was real good, it got us going,” head coach Kevin Ollie said. “One thing we been doing, we been turning teams over. All three exhibition games that we had, we had over 10 steals, or close to it, so we want to keep that up. Our goal was to be plus 10 on the rebounds, it ended up being 29, which was great.”
Josh Carlton was the star of the show, leading the Huskies with 20 points on 10-for-12 shooting with four rebounds. The true freshman put up an impressive performance down in the post, much to the surprise of both Ollie and his teammates.
“I just try to get the ball down low, just try to be poised with it, take what the defense gives me,” Carlton said. “Try not to force anything, just being patient down low.”
Carlton’s post play is something he’s been working on ever since he started playing basketball, making it a staple of his game.
“I just wanted to make sure I had a solid post game before I tried to do anything else,” Carlton said. “Not a lot of guys wanted to work on post moves, but I always embraced it.”
Ollie sang his praises for the 6-foot-9 forward’s ability to stay strong down low.
“I love how Josh keeps the ball high on the offensive end, got some real solid footwork down there,” Ollie said. “We just want him to get stronger and stronger and he did a great job rebounding today.”
Christian Vital, who was close behind Carlton with 18 points, said his strong post play was something that was going to be anticipated of him every game, but it didn’t stop him from being impressed by it.
“I didn’t expect the big fella to do that today,” Vital said.
Vital put up a good performance, shooting 6-for-11 from the floor with seven rebounds and four assists. Fellow guards Alterique Gilbert and Jalen Adams also scored in double digits, with 12 and 16 points, respectively.
Vital lauded the efforts of the whole team, especially the defense, saying he expects opposing teams to have a hard time scoring against them when they’re locked in.
“I think our team is really versatile, and I think that’s going to help us throughout the year when we have different matchups against teams,” Vital said.
It was a lopsided game, with almost every single Husky with the exception of walk-on Temi Aiyegbusi scoring in the minutes they played. Their goal on improving their long-range shooting wasn’t really met, going 7-for-21 from beyond the arc, and they opened the second half lazily, allowing Queens to sink five straight 3-pointers to cut their deficit to 18. But the Huskies quickly recuperated, going on an 13-0 run to squash any hopes of a Queens comeback.