MBB: Huskies taken down by Red Storm for 2nd straight loss 

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UConn men’s basketball suffer a 85-74 loss against St. Johns at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. following a noon matchup on Sunday, Jan, 15. In front of a sold-out crowd, the Huskies added another defeat to their record making it their fourth loss in the past five games. Photo by Sofia Sawchuk/The Daily Campus

On Dec. 28 of this season, it would’ve been unthinkable for any college basketball fan to imagine a scenario where the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team, a program that was at the top of the college basketball world, lost 4 of their next 5 games. 

Yet, that scenario is the case, as the Huskies were stunned in front of 15,564 fans on Sunday. Every game in the Big East is a tough matchup, but with UConn in front of its home crowd and a 14.5-point favorite, there was good energy in the environment as the team looked to end a rough four-game skid. To top it all off, St. John’s hadn’t been very successful at the XL Center, losing seven straight games at the Insurance Capital of the World before Sunday’s matchup.  

Yet, despite the odds against them, the Red Storm played tough, and thanks to players like big man Joel Soriano, the Johnnies looked determined to end their XL Center losing streak and show that they were not ready to be messed with.  

One big problem for the Huskies began to show and that was their defense, a key staple of their identity that pushed them to this point in the year. That tough and gritty style of play felt lost even in the first half as the Red Storm took advantage of holes and played their brand of basketball in an arena where they hadn’t grabbed much success. While players like Jordan Hawkins caught fire on the offensive side of the basketball with tough buckets from beyond the arc, the Red Storm fired right back with tough buckets inside.  

Although there was some sloppy basketball from the Huskies, it remained a tie game after a fadeaway buzzer-beater from junior David Jones. It was time for both teams to get some rest and regroup, especially UConn who certainly didn’t look like themselves in that first half. When talking about his team after the final buzzer sounded, coach Dan Hurley didn’t expect everything to unfold as it did. 

UConn men’s basketball suffer a 85-74 loss against St. Johns at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. following a noon matchup on Sunday, Jan, 15. In front of a sold-out crowd, the Huskies added another defeat to their record making it their fourth loss in the past five games. Photo by Sofia Sawchuk/The Daily Campus

“I thought we would play a lot better. Just looked weak and unprepared. Disappointing just begins to describe it,” said Hurley. 

As the second half began, there were still plenty of problems on the defensive end. Even though the Huskies kept it close on offense, the Red Storm kept firing back. Even when UConn showed more fight on defense, St. John’s found ways to score with players like Soriano inside, who finished the game with 19 points and a whopping 13 rebounds. They kept taking advantage of countless mistakes from the Huskies.  

“They were just way tougher every 50/50 ball, every 60/40 ball, they beat us to. Every time that it was a one-on-one situation, their player got the edge,” Hurley said on what bothered him in this game.  

It was a symbol of resilient basketball, and a first-half scuffle between UConn freshman Donovan Clingan and Jones helped energize the Red Storm to play even harder.  In the second half, the Red Storm kept pushing and as the buzzer sounded, St. John’s had an 85-74 win over UConn.  

“This game proves a lot. It shows what we can do when we’re together, when we’re connected,” said Soriano. 

Now, Hurley and the Huskies need a spark more than ever as they look to end their multi-game losing streak in their next matchup at Seton Hall. Change is certainly needed and the Huskies sense that. While Jordan Hawkins had an amazing night on offense, he voiced how it didn’t matter to him. 

“It really doesn’t matter,” said Hawkins. “We lost.” 

With a tough stretch of games behind them and a heightened sense of urgency throughout the program, the Huskies are being pushed further to perform and return to their winning ways. It’s time to demonstrate the character that’s brought them here.  

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