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UConn Men's Basketball Exhibition: Huskies defeat Assumption

In their final exhibition game, the Huskies defeated Assumption at the XL Center, 68-59.

Jamie Squire

There are flashes of brilliance, but the picture isn't clear yet.

Although UConn was able to defeat Assumption, the team does not quite look like the defending champions.

It's there in bursts, a Daniel Hamilton alley-oop to Amida Brimah. A Rodney Purvis drive to the basket, a Ryan Boatright strip steal to transition dunk.

But those are fleeting moments. Brimah picked up two fouls in the game's opening three minutes, Purvis was called for two charges in the first half, and the Huskies shot just 63% from the free throw line.

After struggling to put away Southern Connecticut State in their exhibition opener, the UConn Huskies brought a much better effort Sunday afternoon at the XL Center.

Coach Kevin Ollie spoke about a lack of effort from his team.

"We had a couple guys that played UConn basketball. Some guys didn't. Our energy has to get better. We play a good team on Friday, we have to bring better energy," Ollie said.

The Huskies were paced by a great effort from freshman Daniel Hamilton. He finished with 12 points, a game high 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks.

Ollie was impressed by Hamilton's game.

"He has a point guard's mentality. The way he sees the whole floor and gets everyone involved. I saw he had that vision the first time I saw him play. He's a great player," Ollie said.

Hamilton, in the two exhibition games, has proven to be a jack-of-all-trades. Simply put, he can do everything on the floor.

"My goal is to be versatile. I want to do it all, do whatever I can do for the team," he said.

For long stretches of this game, the Huskies struggled to pull away. This exhibition season, only two games to be fair, has been littered with turnovers, fouls and general sloppy play.

But UConn, with their superior talent, found ways to win both games.

UConn's leading scorer was Sam Cassell Jr, who finished with 18 points on 7-11 shooting, 4-7 from three point range.

Cassell Jr. has been a spark plug off the bench. Although not a spectacular athlete like Rodney Purvis, Cassell Jr. has shown the ability to pick his spots and get open. Plus, he can really shoot the basketball, from all over the floor.

Ollie noted that Cassell Jr. could find himself in the starting lineup due to his outstanding production in the exhibitions.

"If I start or come off the bench, I just want to do whatever I can to help the team. I just have to go out and play my game, no matter the role," Cassell Jr. said.

As the regular season approaches, highlighted by an unrelenting non conference schedule, the Huskies need to get on the same page and bring more energy for 40 minutes.

Ollie implored to his team to figure it out.

"I'm tired of the feeling out process,"he said "It's time to play."

UConn begins their championship defense Friday night at Gampel Pavilion against Bryant.