Shops – to Bubbleville.
UConn jumped to a big lead against Hartford on Friday night, overcame a foul and some Hartford hot shots and went on to win 69-57 at the Gamble Pavilion.
After two nights of more battle fought than was expected from central Connecticut in the season opener, Husky led 24-7 midway through the first half and looked on his way to an easy victory.
But the Falcons jumped back slowly, aided by a steady width of the spoiled streak, and were three (40-37) away after Tracy Carter collided with a hoping sailor about seven minutes into the second half.
“We’ve shown a lot of immaturity,” said coach Dan Hurley. We didn’t know how to act. We didn’t keep it. He should have gone from (a) 19 (high point) to 23 in the first half. We have a lot of work to do. We were incredibly immature, from the 3:32 mark of the first half, for the next 23 minutes. It was just immaturity at its highest. “
It was UConn’s senior striker Isaiah Whaley who propelled the Huskies to the finish line, scoring six points (including a pair of thundering dives) and knocking out a main shot dead during a single stretch to allow Husky to retract a bit.
With 4:35 left, Wally scored a left-handed pass to put the Husky dogs ahead 10. He then fired away Carter’s shot that caused Terese Martin to run out of the ball.
After another Hawk spin, Whaley hit the house with a transition dive to put The Huskies at No. 12. Hartford would be back inside nine, but no closer.
Whaley finished in a double double (10 points, 10 rebounds) and also stopped five shots and provided four assists for the team (!).
Photo: David Butler II / USA Today
“Isaiah has the power to do that,” said Hurley. “Obviously he didn’t have a very good first run. It had no effect at the end of the attack. I thought you saw some kind of Isaiah version that brings value, late. But we need that from the edge. We needed more strong gameplay from Isaiah and Tyler. (Polley) and Brendan Adams – Three men who should know what you’re supposed to look like. Two of those three weren’t good tonight. “
James Bucknite scored the team’s top 18 points – despite only two points in the second half – before losing. Hurley wanted a more complete game than the Year Two superstar.
The coach noted, “We faced a very difficult time after the match, and we will face it severely in the next two days.” “Play in spurts again. Want to be a man who can handle a team competing on top of the Grand East, you have to play a full 40.”
Galen Gaffney added 15 points to the career, RJ Cole 10 and Adama Sanogo added eight points.
Moses Flowers led Hartford with 24 points.
UConn (2-0) is set to face Vanderbilt in his Legends Classic debut Tuesday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena – also known as “Bubbleville”. Husquez is slated to play either USC or BYU in the second Legends Classic game on Thursday, then play NC State on Saturday.
Hurley said he wasn’t sure he would play at least some of those games, due to the COVID-19 quarantine earlier in the month that robbed him of 14 days of training. He said he’d make a decision on Saturday whether UConn would participate.
“What made sense for us was to see what these men looked like physically (on Saturday),” he said. “A game, a day off, a game. See how they look physically (Saturday), after playing this stretch.”
He ended his press conference at Zoom, however, by saying, “See you at Mohegan!”
Behind Bouknight’s hot hands, at first, and then a short stretch of Sanogo, the Husky dogs burst out at the start of 7-24. Hartford missed nine of the first 10 shots.
But UConn ran into a foul problem mid-game, with Andre Jackson committing three fouls, Cole and Polly two during the first 20 minutes.
The Falcons took advantage, and they closed the game in the 11-4 round that put them in 12 (38-26) at break.
Hartford stayed hot to start the last half, jumping to 11-2 at the start to take a three-mile run. It was still an eight-point match when Wally began his six-point primary stretch.
Besides Bucknight’s foul, Cole and Bolly (zero point, one bounce) finished with four fouls. Hartford shot 21 to 27 from the Fawel streak. Husky dogs were 8 versus 14.
“I think a lot of those were mistakes,” Hurley admitted. “I complained a lot, because I was frustrated by our immaturity.”
It was Hartford’s first game of the season, after the scheduled opening game of the season against Merrimack was canceled two nights earlier due to COVID-19 problems with Merrimack.
Now, to Bubbleville. We think.
“It’s really amazing how far we have to go, watch Villanova (Thursday) evening, Seton Hall (Friday),” Hurley said. “The best teams in our conference, they haven’t put 40 minutes of this kind of disciplined play on the field. I have a lot of things to fix before (Big East starts on) December 11th.”
After having to sit in the opening game of Wednesday’s season due to playing in an unauthorized summer league match, Martin made his debut at UConn. Rhode Island’s transfer ended with six points and 10 rebounds.
Hurley said, “In his first match, his physical presence and his ability to help with the backboards, steal baskets, and athletic ability are just a great athlete.” “If he got suspended for two NCAA matches instead of one, it might have been an exciting match in the end. He was a teammate.”