On Jan. 8, in front of more than 10,000 fans at the Prudential Center, UConn took a brutal three-point loss to a seeded Seton Hall team led by Kadary Richmond’s 27 points.
Fast forward to Tuesday night, in front of a Gampel Pavilion crowd that shook the building, UConn looked like a completely different team.
With famous TikTok stars in the audience like Charli D’Amelio, UConn was determined to get a dominant win in front of the Gampel crowd. That’s exactly what they did, as the team grabbed a 70-65 victory over the Pirates.
The Huskies were firing on all cylinders, despite shooting a poor 22.2% from beyond the arc throughout the game. UConn kept attacking the paint, especially center Adama Sanogo. Sanogo’s 20 points and 16 rebounds are just another addition to the sophomore’s incredible season resume.
“Adama, R.J. [Cole], and Tyrese [Martin] all played like all-conference guys today,” said UConn coach Dan Hurley.
Martin’s play over UConn’s past few contests has been sensational to say the least. The senior is averaging 16.6 points over his past five contests on 46.4% field goal shooting. Martin has been the definition of a spark plug for the Huskies throughout their quest toward Big East domination. Whether it’s a clutch three to give the Huskies momentum or picking up his starting point guard in a moment of excitement, Martin is the heart of UConn.
“Honestly, I was excited and happy,” said Cole, recalling his moment with Martin. “When I came down, he almost broke my ankle. It was just, ‘What are you doing?’ That’s my guy though. I appreciate it.”
Cole, along with Martin and Sanogo, helped lead UConn from 33.3% field goal shooting in the first half to 56.7% shooting in the second half. The key to the Huskies getting a huge victory on Tuesday was their ability to get to the line for easy scoring opportunities. UConn notched 11 opportunities from the line in the first half and along with the team’s efficient shooting in the second half, the Huskies were able to pull away.
Richmond in particular was not able to attack the Huskies like he did in Seton Hall’s Jan. overtime win. While the guard did put up 13 points on 6-13 shooting, it was not enough for the Pirates to grab momentum from the Huskies that was fueled by an incredible Gampel crowd.
“They’ve been unbelieve since I’ve been here,” said Hurley on Tuesday’s fan turnout. “I love these kids here. They treat me so unbelievably. I gave them a couple Ric Flair woos before the game and just got them extra amped up.”
It doesn’t look like it will get any easier for UConn’s upcoming opponent, Xavier University. With Gampel Pavilion already sold out, the Musketeers will certainly be feeling the same pressure that pushed the Huskies to victory on Tuesday.