Since the SCSU game may won't be on TV for many of you, our own Elan DeCarlo will be at the game to provide live updates here on this page. If you are able to watch, feel free to share your commentary below!
Basketball season is finally upon us, well sort of. Today, for the first time since cutting down the nets in Jerry World, the University of Connecticut Men's basketball team will take the basketball court against a live opponent. The Southern Connecticut State University Owls are visiting Gampel Pavilion tonight at 7pm for an exhibition game.
Tonight we will see Rodney Purvis, Danny Hamilton, Sam Cassell Jr. and Rakim Lubin -- all guys expected to play big roles -- for the very first time in competitive action. Hopefully we also get a chance to see what Kentan Facey can bring to the table in a year where he is expected to see more playing time.
Junior big man Phil Nolan has had ups and downs over two seasons, but has reportedly added significant muscle in the off-season and is ready to take his game to another level. Amida Brimah has been working on his shooting range and offensive skills, be sure to keep an eye on him with the ball in the offensive end.
Omar Calhoun is out with an MCL injury, there is no timetable for his return though the injury is not believed to be serious.
Former walk-ons Pat Lenehan and Namdi Amilo, will be playing their first games as scholarship players.
UConn 70- Southern Connecticut State 62
I'll have a full recap up shortly. Weird night at Gampel. UConn did just enough to win.
Thanks for following.
UConn 70-SCSU 59 37.4
Full line change for SCSU, conceding defeat.
Cassell Jr. is a gunner and I love it. Guy just need to shoot jumpers, shamelessly so.
UConn 67-SCSU 59 1:52
KO just got up and yelled pretty loud. He's visibly upset. Huskies probably have done enough to win, but have looked rusty and have played poorly for much of the contest.
UConn 67-SCSU 56 3:11
Purvis showing character, making a tough layup late. Nolan just took another charge, causing more bizarre chants from the student section
UConn 65-SCSU 56 3:42
Nolan just took a charge. Huskies look to be in control, SCSU is just jacking up threes. It's been a rough night shooting the ball, but UConn has made just enough to be comfortable. For now.
UConn 64-SCSU 56 4:22
A Cassell Jr. pull up jumper, followed by a Brimah swat had Gampel swaying. Had Boat and Purvis connected on their alley-oop attempt, place would have went nuts.
UConn 62-SCSU 54 5:17
SCSU stroked a three that was immediately followed by a Cassell Jr three in response. Next trip down, Huskies block a shot. On the fast break, Hamilton missed a pull up 3, but Brimah grabbed the board near the foul line where he splashed a jumper. Smooth touch, like I said.
UConn 57-SCSU 51 6:25
Brimah has always impressed me with his shooting stroke. Doesn't hit a high percentage, but it looks smooth.
UConn 56-SCSU 51 6:54
Samuel knocks down two clutch free throws to extend the lead. On the next possession, Brimah gets fouled on a dunk attempt. He made 1 of 2. UConn's missed at least 3 dunks tonight.
UConn 53-SCSU 51 7:35
Sloppy, lazy defense from the Huskies leads to a wide open three attempt, which missed, but gave up the the off board. Put back tied it. Samuel hit a shot to bring the Huskies back ahead.
As we head to crunch time, the Huskies find themselves in a real fight, to the surprise of all in attendance.
UConn 51-SCSU 48 9:27
I don't know what he did, but Purvis is cursed tonight. Has had about 6 shots go in-and-out. Simply cannot get 'em to go down. He's shown great quickness and has made good decisions but the shots aren't falling.
UConn 49-SCSU 48 10:50
Purvis fouled on a fast break. Makes 1 of 2 to give Huskies the lead late. Hamilton hit him with a 50 foot pass, showed great court vision to spot him.
UConn 44-SCSU 48 11:43
Sweet pocket pass to Nolan off of lane penetration by Purvis. Nolan fouled as he attempted a dunk, made 1 of 2 to tie the game.
Purvis finally hits a field goal, bringing the score to 48-47. Huskies trail with 11:58 left in the game.
12:22 SCSU 48- UConn 45
The Huskies keep shooting themselves in the foot. Too many fouls. Allowing SCSU to stay in this game. Turnovers and fouls have killed UConn tonight. They need to play smarter and with more discipline or they will lose this game. Southern has come to play tonight and the Huskies look content to give this exhibition game away.
13:44 UConn 45-SCSU 40
This game could be a wrap. UConn has come out strong in the second half. Brimah has been imposing on both ends of the floor.
Funny moment; ball just got wedged between hoop and glass. Turns out, that's a jump ball type situation.
Lubin, Purvis, Nolan, Samuel and Boatright on the floor now.
15:56 UConn 41-SCSU 40
Kentan Facey clearly goal tends. Referee calls it. Crowd proceeds to chant ""Bulls***! Bulls***!" Ref turns to student section and says "it was obvious. easy call" funny moment for us on press row.
18:24 UConn 37-SCSU 34
Boatright refuses to let this team fall out of it. Hits two deep threes to give Huskies the lead
19:38 SCSU 34-UConn 31
Hamilton to Brimah alley-lop gets the student section off it's feet. Brimah quickly picks up his third foul, clobbering Luke Houston on his way to the basket.
HALF TIME. SCSU 32- UConn 29
Ok, what a strange half of basketball. The SCSU Owls are leading at the break, behind seven made three pointers. Neither team is playing good basketball. UConn created quality shots throughout the half, but couldn't convert. They shot a brutal 29% from the field in the opening 20 minutes.
It was a particularly tough half for Rodney Purvis, the junior transfer. He missed all seven shots he took, many of them coming inside or just outside the paint. His starting backcourt mate Ryan Boatright paced the Huskies with 10 points, on 3-7 shooting.
Amida Brimah, who struggled mightily with foul trouble as a freshman last season, picked up two quick ones and played just 12 minutes in the half. Daniel Hamilton and Boatright also had two fouls in the half.
Sam Cassell Jr made a big impact. In his 14 minutes of action, he displayed a veteran's confidence, stroking two three pointers that hit nothing but net. He has a quick trigger and isn't afraid to shoot.
For Southern, Desmond Williams, Deshawn Murphy and Luke Houston all hit at least two three pointers. UConn was slow all half to close out shooters, and SCSU has taken advantage of it. UConn needs to come out with more defensive intensity in the second half if they want to win this game.
Southern is bringing everything they have tonight. Although just an exhibition, if they can upset the defending national champs, it would be a big deal.
UConn looked rusty and sloppy throughout the first half, but trail by just a basket. They were creating good shots all half, they just have to start hitting them. Also, they need to take better care of the basketball. Another half with 11 turnovers will spell disaster.
Both teams are back on the floor to warm up for the second half. Let's get it going.
SCSU 30- UConn 28 U2:00
Purvis is a fantastic athlete. Just unleashed a spin move that drew pronounced "oohs" and "ahhs" from the crowd. He missed the lay-up, but the move was sensational. Hasn't been able to buy a bucket.
SCSU keeps nailing threes
UConn 28-SCSU 26 2:55
In the history of UConn basketball, the student section has never seen a foul call they appreciated.
UConn 28-SCSU 26 3:39
I don't think Boatright has hit the rim on any of his free throws. Also, his handles remain unbelievable and he's super quick.
Southern just won't go away. Just forced a blocking call, free throws coming
UConn 22-SCSU 19 5:41
Boatright just finished a tough layup to give the Huskies a point advantage, then Hamilton came down to hit a floater in the lane to push the lead to three. SCSU called a timeout hoping to stop the mini run, but this could be it. Huskies starting to figure it out. Could put the game away early
SCSU 19-UConn 18 7:10.
Cassell Jr. heat checks are going to be fun. Can tell already that he loves to shoot the rock. Boatright just got chased down on a fast break and had his layup blocked.
SCSU 19 UConn 15 8:23
Too many threes for Southern. Ollie calls a timeout. Looks upset, could hear him yelling to get his team to close out on the Owl shooters.
13-13 9:52 in the 1st half
Cassell Jr ties the game at 13 with a 3. Plays with a lot of confidence. Following two missed free throws, Hamilton snares a tough off. rebound to keep possession.
Phil Nolan just had his dunk thrown back at him. Impressive play there.
Huskies running a three guard set with Samuel, Cassell Jr. and Purvis. Getting up and down the floor very quickly.
Hamilton just checked back in, so it's those four plus Nolan. Holy fast break.
9-8 Huskies following 2 Purvis free throws. 11:55 left in the first.
Back to back 3s by SCSU bring their to 9-4 with 13:50 left in the half.
Sam Cassell Jr. checks in for Hamilton.
Seems to be a lid on the basket, UConn can't buy a bucket.
Almost four minutes in and just two field goals combined. Ladies and gents, preseason basketball.
Phil Nolan, Rakim Lubin and Terrence Samuel sub in for Brimah, Facey and Purvis.
Brimah is too big for SCSU. Everywhere on the offensive boards.
Daniel Hamilton with a big pin block on a SCSU fast break. This kid is an ATHLETE
Luke Houston opens the scoring with a 3 for SCSU. Hamilton comes down and hits a floater. SCSU 3-UConn 2 a minute in
UConn wins the tip. Quick turnover to start.
Alright, we're about 45 minutes from tip-off. Both UConn and SCSU are warming up on the floor. Gampel is starting to fill up, people are excited to watch actual basketball.
A year ago, SCSU finished 30-3, with an 18-2 record in the Northeast-10 Conference. They reached the Elite Eight in NCAA Division II Tournament.
An added note, today's game will be played with a 30 second shot clock. The teams in the American Athletic Conference were granted a waiver to experiment with the shortened shot clock.
The Huskies are 47-6 all time in exhibition games and are currently on a 40 game win streak.
Last season, UConn and SCSU met for an exhibition match, with the Huskies winning 93-65, at Gampel Pavilion.
Reminder, no Omar Calhoun tonight. He's sitting with a sprained right MCL. A timetable for his return has not been announced.
Don't tell the student section this is an exhibition; they're ready for real basketball. First time seeing the defending champs against an actual opponent.
Ryan Boatright, Rodney Purvis, Kentan Facey, Amida Brimah and Daniel Hamilton are your UConn starters.
For SCSU, Jose Cruz, Michael Mallory, Tylon Smith, Luke Houston and Deshawn Murphy.
As will be the case for much of the early portion of the season, I'm most excited to see Rodney Purvis and Daniel Hamilton. The new guys have the potential to push UConn to a new level. Both players come highly recruited and have quite a buzz around them.
Omar Calhoun, Nnamdi Amilo and Pat Lenehan were all named to the AAC All-Academic Team.