Men’s Basketball: Huskies to return to Gampel for a dogfight with the Terriers 

0
62
UConn Men’s Basketball claim an 83-54 victory over Stonehill in their first game of the season on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, at the XL Center in Hartford. UConn Men’s Basketball will return against Boston University on Friday, Nov. 11 at 6:00 p.m. in Gampel Pavilion. Photo by Izzi Barton/Daily Campus.

After a blowout win over new Division I opponent Stonehill, the UConn men’s basketball team is returning to the Basketball Capital of the World to take on the Boston University Terriers on Friday night. 

The most pleasant surprise for the Huskies in their win over the Skyhawks on Monday night was the play of transfer student Hassan Diarra. The guard was a leader for the Huskies off the bench, shooting 5-for-9 with five rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Despite tweaking his leg late in the game, Diarra came out for only a moment, showcasing his desire to help the team. 

“Coach gives us his all, so it’s only right that we give him our all,” said Diarra postgame. “I just wanted to show that I’m willing to do that, whether I’m hurt or not.” 

UConn head coach Dan Hurley was pleased with Diarra’s efforts, calling him “the best guard out there” on Monday. He looks to continue that reputation on Friday night. 

Someone who is looking to improve upon his first game is fellow transfer Tristen Newton, who struggled to find his shot in his Huskies debut. The East Carolina product didn’t register a field goal, but made his way to the line, shooting 9-for-12 from the stripe. Newton showed that going forward, he can make adjustments to help the team if his shot isn’t there. He will attempt a bounce-back performance against BU. 

While the new guys are somewhat unknown after just one game into their UConn careers, mainstay forward Adama Sanogo looks to be as dominant as ever. The Preseason Big East Player of the Year took advantage of Stonehill’s weak post defense, and with a shorter Terriers starting five, he is on course for another successful outing. 

UConn Men’s Basketball claim an 83-54 victory over Stonehill in their first game of the season on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, at the XL Center in Hartford. UConn Men’s Basketball will return against Boston University on Friday, Nov. 11 at 6:00 p.m. in Gampel Pavilion. Photo by Izzi Barton/Daily Campus.

Connecticut boasts a pair of contributing freshmen to its squad, forward Alex Karaban and center Donovan Clingan. Each shined on opening night and will continue their on-court development on Friday. 

“Those guys, you can see the work they put in each and every day,” said Diarra on the first-year duo. “With them coming out and playing well [Monday night], it’s not a surprise to me. These guys, they’re in the gym at 6 a.m., right before I get there, every day putting in work… These guys are mature and are playing like they are sophomores and juniors.” 

The Huskies were already missing a team leader in guard Andre Jackson, who is out with a pinky finger injury, but it looks like they’ll be without another core piece in Jordan Hawkins. The sophomore, primed for a breakout campaign, took a hard fall going up for a rebound on Monday. On Thursday evening, news broke that Hawkins will not play against Boston University. 

With arguably the team’s top two guards sidelined for most of the game, the Huskies really had to rely on their depth against the Skyhawks. Hurley commended UConn’s ability to adjust the gameplan, acknowledging “that could’ve gone far worse for us.” There were nine players that saw significant minutes, including Hawkins. Add Jackson back into the mix by the team’s first road trip, and that makes 10. 

“We do have depth. The thing that excites me the most is that when we get fully healthy and get both of our big-time guards back with Andre and Jordan, with what we have at the four and five, it’s going to put that peer pressure on those others to really level up. Minutes are going to be at a premium.” 

UConn Men’s Basketball claim an 83-54 victory over Stonehill in their first game of the season on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, at the XL Center in Hartford. UConn Men’s Basketball will return against Boston University on Friday, Nov. 11 at 6:00 p.m. in Gampel Pavilion. Photo by Izzi Barton/Daily Campus.

While depth is obviously welcomed, currently Connecticut has a lot of new players in the mix. Only five of the 10 guys expected to see a lot of time this season were in-house last year, and two of them-Karaban and Samson Johnson- saw little-to-no playing time. Hurley noticed a lack of the culture he’s been trying to create over the past five years on Monday night, explaining that with so many new bodies, “it takes time to build.” The Huskies will get plenty of time to build that culture, but it will be difficult in the earlier goings, especially with Jackson and Hawkins, two players who have truly experienced that culture of UConn-branded basketball, on the sideline. The team will eventually carve out their own identity, and that path continues on Friday night. 

The Terriers (1-0) started out their season strong by taking down Northeastern in their home opener. Boston University is ranked No. 235 overall in the KenPom ratings and is led by none other than graduate student Walter Whyte. Whyte was cooking on Monday night, as he made it crystal clear who was the best player on the court. He shot 10-for-16 for 27 points in his season debut, adding 13 rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Whyte truly did whatever it took to provide for his Terrier family, and the guard looks to make yet another Huskies squad feel blue in this matchup. 

Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut. The game will be broadcast live on FS2. 

Leave a Reply