After another embarrassing showing on the road against Temple on Sunday, the UConn men’s basketball team has history on their side when they take on UCF tonight in Florida. The Huskies are 11-1 against UCF all-time and are 8-0 against them since joining the American in 2014.
Earlier in the year, UConn (11-10, 4-4 The American) played one of their better games of the season against the Knights (13-7, 4-4 American) at home, as freshmen Isaiah Whaley and Eric Cobb played instrumental roles in keeping 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall at bay in UConn’s 62-53 victory. Whaley recorded six rebounds and five blocks, and while Carlton only recorded four points, his defense proved to be pivotal in the win.
Fall, however, will no longer be a factor—the national leader in field goal percentage (.767) suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. He scored seven points in his final game against No. 8 Cincinnati on Jan. 16. However, UCF’s leading scorer, B.J. Taylor, who did not play in the last matchup between the teams on Jan. 10, is back in action and will pose a different challenge for the UConn defense.
In the last matchup between the two teams at Gampel Pavilion, Vital led with 18 points and Jalen Adams added 13 and surpassed 1,000 career points, just the 50th Husky to do so. Without Fall and with the addition of Taylor, who averages 13.8 points per game and shoots 46.2 percent from the field, the Huskies will have to do what they couldn’t against Temple—push UCF off the perimeter.
The Huskies have won just one road game this season, defeating Tulane 67-57 in New Orleans on Jan. 13. In Sunday’s beatdown in Philadelphia, Christian Vital led UConn with 15 points, and Whaley had another solid game, scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds.
UConn allowed Temple to shoot 40 percent from 3-point range and 49.2 percent from the floor. Without Terry Larrier once again, the Huskies will have to figure out ways to put the ball in the basket to avoid more scoring droughts—an almost 10-minute scoring drought at the end of the first half against Temple is what sunk the Huskies, in addition to turning the ball over 16 times.
The game will tip off at 9 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.