It was absolutely hideous to watch, but UConn Men’s Basketball is in no position to worry about style points. The Huskies defeated Boston University in front of a light crowd at the XL Center, 51-49.
It wasn’t that tight for most of the second half, but BU closed in late and the game came down to the final possession, which is really pretty pathetic, even for a young, injury-depleted team.
The Huskies struggled to hit free throws all night, going 12-of-23 from the charity stripe, missing a few at the end which could have made the waning minutes a lot more comfortable. They shot a horrendous 32% from the field while committing 13 turnovers.
Luckily, BU basically did everything it could to hand the game to UConn, even if Kevin Ollie’s squad was far too polite to accept it. The Terriers struggled mightily from the field, going 3-of-19 from behind the arc and finishing at 31% shooting. They also gave the ball away 16 times.
The Huskies’ shooting percentage hovered around 20% for most of the first half before a late run boosted it to 27% as they took a 21-17 lead after 20 minutes. It was the first lead at the halftime break for UConn this season. The Huskies finished a hair over 32% from the field, notching two fast-break points and getting just 11 points from the bench. However bad this game sounds, it was worse to watch.
The ugliness continued in the second half, but UConn managed to stay ahead. The big men found a way to get some timely buckets underneath, which was needed because both Jalen Adams and Rodney Purvis were ice cold from the field, combining to hit just 5-of-25 shots on their way to 13 total points. Purvis did dish six assists with Adams getting four as well, so they made their presence felt.
BU guard Eric Fanning led all scorers with 21 points, doing it with an efficient 7-of-11 shooting effort while also grabbing nine rebounds.
Kentan Facey (8 points, 7 rebounds) showed some aggressiveness and even a deft touch with the ball in one of his better games while Amida Brimah (9 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks) was solid as well down low. Together they would make one heck of a center.
Freshman Christian Vital had a really strong outing, finishing with 13 points and five rebounds. He’s the kind of hard-nosed, dependable player who I can see being a leader on future championship teams. He’s been a revelation so far in this painful season.
All that said, the team is young, and potentially capable of making big strides across the season. But realistically we need to accept that things are probably going to get worse before it gets better with three scholarship players out for the season so early. These games will pay dividends for Husky teams in the future, we just have to wait a bit for the payoff.
UConn is in action next for a highly-anticipated matchup against Syracuse at Madison Square Garden on Monday, December 5. The Huskies will be the underdogs against the No. 22 Orange, but we know to expect just about anything when these two teams meet.