It was not a pretty outcome from the XL Center in which the University of Connecticut simply did not look like themselves. A team shooting percentage of 29.9% for the game along with just two points from the bench only begins to tell the true story for the Huskies, who were in search of their sixth straight win against the Bluejays.
Instead of grabbing another consecutive Big East win, the team grabbed a disappointing XL Center loss in front of a crowd of 10,443. That large Hartford crowd was loud until the final buzzer in what seemed like a clear resurgence during the second half to grab the win.
It was a one-man show that kept the Huskies in it throughout Tuesday’s dogfight. That man was veteran Isaiah Whaley, who put up a career-high 20 points on 8-13. Whaley was a huge outlier in a team that struggled offensively all night. Whether it was attacking Creighton from the three-point line or in the paint with a block, the UConn fan favorite had a career night.
“It felt good,” said Whaley. “Coach has been telling me to shoot it over and over. Whenever I don’t hesitate, good things happen.”
Other than Whaley, the team looked completely off on offense and defense. With the Bluejays being able to shoot 41.2% and not a single player cracking double digits other than Whaley and guard R.J. Cole, the Huskies are looking at the same problems they’ve faced since the start of the season.
Who was giving the Huskies trouble all night? While the Bluejays had an all-around impressive game throughout the team, the clear culprit was Ryan Hawkins. The forward picked apart UConn’s defense with ease, especially from the three-point line with a 4-5 shooting night from beyond the arc. His incredible play was a huge part in keeping the Bluejays competitive in a huge win for the program.
“It’s a hard, hard league,” said Creighton head coach Greg Mcdermott. “You better appreciate and enjoy the wins when they come because they are not easy to come by in this conference.”
While Mcdermott was extremely proud of the team’s performance against a ranked UConn team, Huskies coach Dan Hurley was much more angry about his team’s poor performance across the board.
“We just got to find a way to play better when we come in here,” Hurley said, “especially when you see a crowd like that that’s going to galvanize the group.”
It was an overall sloppy game from the Huskies and it does not get any easier for the team. The team has to play Villanova University up next on the road, a tough task for UConn after losing to the Creighton team that sits at just 5-4 in the Big East.
One thing is clear for UConn. The Huskies had their worst offensive night of the year and with a tough Wildcats team coming up, improvements are necessary. In an off night for an impressive team in the country, it’s rebound time for UConn.