With the holiday season in full-swing, the Huskies will face off against the Saint Peter’s Peacocks in the first game of a three-game homestand to close out the calendar year.
UConn (6-3) has gone eight days since its last game, a disappointing 57-54 loss to Indiana at Madison Square Garden. Christain Vital, the team’s leading scorer, finished with only seven points and just as many turnovers. Josh Carlton and Tyler Polley, the other two Huskies averaging double-digit points, scored 18 and 12 respectively.
Freshman Akok Akok, who has received high marks from head coach Dan Hurley all season, embraced the arena. He scored an efficient nine points on 80 percent shooting within the arc and made one-of-two attempts from deep. Though he was limited to 25 minutes because of foul trouble, Akok still grabbed five rebounds and swatted five shots. He ranks 12th in the nation with 27 blocks, a 3.00 block per game average.
The record may not reflect it at the moment, but Hurley called the Peacocks (2-4), “one of the hardest team’s we’ll play,” when he spoke to the media via conference call Tuesday afternoon. It’ll be the first time the two teams meet since 1987, Jim Calhoun’s first year as head coach, when the Peacocks evened the all-time series at three games a piece in a 75-50 win.
Saint Peter’s, a perfect 2-0 at home, has won two of its last four games including a 16-point win over Fairleigh Dickinson last week. Over that four-game stretch, the Peacocks have seen their points per game jump nearly 30 points from 45.5 to 74.8.
The Peacocks will put the Huskies’ rebounding capabilities to the test as they rank third in the nation with 15.17 offensive boards per contest. Derrick Woods, a 6-foot-8 senior forward, leads the team in offensive rebounds (19) and total (40) and is bringing down nearly seven (6.7) a game.
UConn’s perimeter defense will need to be atop its game with the nation’s fourth-best three-point shooter in town. Doug Edert, a 6-foot-2 freshman guard, has connected on 53.1 percent of his shots from 3-point range thus far. Only starting in four of the team’s six games, Edert is the Peacock’s leading scorer with 11.2 points per game, the lone player averaging double digits.
Tip off is set for 7 p.m. at the XL Center and the game will be broadcast live by SNY.