It was a block party at the XL Center for the University of Connecticut.
The UConn Huskies put on a show for the UConn crowd in another Big East showdown at home that included 10 blocks as a team. While their previous Big East XL Center matchup didn’t go as well against Providence College, this game was the complete opposite. With a double-digit win and many positive takeaways for the Huskies, the team will certainly take the win.
The star for the Huskies was easily R.J. Cole and the graduate guard was doing everything on the court. One of the positive marks that stuck out for Cole was the guard’s ability to draw fouls early with eight foul shot attempts early at the line.
“R.J. is real crafty,” said head coach Dan Hurley. “<Aaron> Thompson is a heck of a on-ball defender and used his aggressiveness against him in the first half to get him in foul trouble. But, R.J. is crafty and is a veteran player. He’s played all-conference basketball all year.”
It was another great game from the rising talent that is Andre Jackson. The guard continued to show his development with a double-double that included 12 points, 10 rebounds and three shots from the three-point range. It was also Jackson’s first double-double scoring achievement as a Husky. Jackson talked about his development as a shooter after the game.
“Starting last year, every day, I was in the gym,” said Jackson. “I just consistently worked and I’m just starting to see some payoff from all the work that I put in over the summer.”
As always, if there’s a UConn game, Adama Sanogo is bound to provide trouble for opposing lineups and that’s exactly what the big man did. While Sanogo did not have his best game for the Huskies, the sophomore was still able to notch a double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds to cap off the victory. Sanogo became the first player to acquire 15+ rebounds and 3+ blocks in three straight games since basketball great Tim Duncan did so in 1996-97 as a member of Wake Forest University.
Off the bench, the Huskies were able to get a nice spark in scoring from freshman Jordan Hawkins with a quality 14 points and Tyler Polley with 10 points. Hawkins specifically was able to rebound well from poor performances in his previous four matchups. Polley has simply come into his own with recent quality shooting performances for the Huskies.
While the Huskies were able to generate a huge Big East win, it’s time to do it again. This time, the team has to do it on the road with just a day of rest in Indianapolis. It’s time for the Huskies to replicate their quality performance again on Thursday for another win against Butler.