Huskies return home for non-conference matchup with MD Eastern

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UConn beats Binghamton 87-63 in the XL Center, Nov. 20, 2021. Tyrese Martin (4) led the team in scoring with 15 points. Photo by Kevin Lindstrom/The Daily Campus.

The University of Connecticut is ready to compete as hard as they ever have. After an impressive showing at the Battle 4 Atlantis, the team is flying from the hot beaches in the Bahamas back to the freezing grounds of Connecticut to face the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. 

This game is the third matchup between the two teams all-time, with the last matchup coming in 2012-13 in a 84-50 Husky win. MD Eastern has had a fairly slow start to their season. With a 2-4 record and a loss in their previous matchup against Liberty University, the team has struggled early. With almost an entirely new team compared to their last full season, the Hawks are looking to pull off a deadly upset against the Huskies. The Shore has used just one starting lineup this season, with senior guard Zion Styles leading the team in scoring with 12.5 points on the season. 

The Huskies, fresh off a new No. 17 ranking on the AP Top 25 College Basketball Ranking, are continuing to look how to improve their game in every way possible and demonstrate their true potential on the court. 

“I learned how tough we are,” Isiah Whaley of the Huskies, said. “Once we got to play the hard level teams, we kind of figured out how tough we were mentally and physically.” 

Players had impressive showings throughout their time in the Bahamas with Big East Player of the Week Adama Sanogo being among them. While Sanogo was one of the UConn’s standout players on the court, Hurley emphasized that there is always room for improvement, whether that’s passing out of the post or becoming even more comfortable scoring in the paint. 

Someone who is certainly familiar with the Hawks is fifth-year guard R.J. Cole. The guard, who transferred to UConn from Howard University, played against MD Eastern on four occasions. Those contests saw Cole go undefeated and average a superb 20.5 points. 

“You’ve got to have guys make shots or make plays and drive it, finish or make a big three,” said Hurley on Cole. “That’s a big part of [our] end of game execution is you got to have the right guy that takes that ball and makes that play. He did that and he probably would have done that against Michigan State.”  

The Huskies are ready to polish their game to the fullest extent. With easier competition on Tuesday, the team will need to keep their foot on the gas. Tuesday’s matchup will not only have to show their true mentality but will also demonstrate how they correct their mistakes from the Battle 4 Atlantis. Tuesday’s game will tipoff at 7 p.m. at the XL Center and will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.  

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