The UConn men’s basketball team will embark on the first leg of a 10,200-mile road trip as they look to grab their first win of the year against Loyola Marymount.
The Huskies (0-2) will be trying to take advantage of the Lions (1-1), who are coming off a 79-64 loss to Nevada. UConn is looking to end their skid before going to the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, where they are slated to take on Oklahoma State.
Redshirt sophomore Terry Larrier leads UConn in points per game so far (18.0), and he is coming off a 17-point performance against Northeastern. Guards Jalen Adams and Alterique Gilbert also own double figures, with 12.0 and 10.5 points per game, respectively. Senior center Amida Brimah leads the team so far in rebounds with 6.0 rebounds per game.
Despite individuals performing well, the team as a whole is having a hard time succeeding on all sides of the ball. There is no cohesiveness on offense and the team often struggles to take advantage on possessions and rebound cleanly. While the negatives are widespread, head coach Kevin Ollie is still focused on keeping his team on the path for success.
“I’m just trying to keep them all together, that’s my job. This is a dark time, I know that, I understand that,” Ollie said. “I know I’m going to get through it and this team is going to get through it. We’re young, but we gotta keep fighting and we can’t use that excuse and we can’t accept losing…We will figure this out.”
UConn is 0-2 for the first time since the 1968-69 season, where they went 0-10 before defeating Syracuse for their first win. The Huskies are hoping to avoid a similar fate, but Larrier does not think that there is any cause for major concern.
“Sometimes, the ball just doesn’t fall. We’re missing a lot of shots that we should make…We’ll eventually make those shots and we’ll be better,” Larrier said.
The Lions are led in scoring by senior Buay Tauch, who has lit up the court for 15.5 points per game. The Lions are led mostly by upperclassmen, as their starting five consist of four seniors and one junior. Only two sophomores and one freshman saw playing time in their most recent game.
UConn, by comparison, though they don’t have a definitive starting five yet, are mostly freshman and sophomores, with Brimah being the only senior to start both games so far.
Loyola Marymount is also a good rebounding team and are bound to give UConn more struggles at the glass. They have a season total of 87 rebounds so far; 30 offensive and 57 defensive. UConn has a total of 71 rebounds, 25 being offensive and 46 being defensive. If UConn is to see success in this game, they must increase their offensive rebounding and keep the Lions from attacking the boards.
Tipoff is set to begin at 10 p.m. ET at Gersten Pavilion in Los Angeles.