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Takeaways from UConn Men’s Basketball Victory Over Colgate

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What did we learn from the first game of the season?

Ian Bethune

Kevin Ollie’s UConn Huskies notched a solid win in their season opener, which was no small feat considering last year’s failure to do so and a sudden suspension of the team’s best player. Jalen Adams’ absence placed an even greater onus on other members of the team to step up and a few new names answered the call.

Most importantly, the Huskies simply had the look of a solid, confident team. Given the disappointment of last year and the tumult which followed in the offseason, this is a really positive start.

Here are the key takeaways from the first game.

Terry Larrier is Good

Larrier looked extremely comfortable at the 3/4 and did a great job capitalizing on the size and athleticism advantage he had on his defenders. His moves to the rim and shooting were smooth as heck and there’s no reason to believe he can’t keep up that type of play against the best teams on the schedule. If his midrange shot is falling, he’s a deadly scorer inside the perimeter.

Solid Without Adams = Depth

It would have been nice to see a slightly bigger and more comfortable win, but with Jalen Adams missing, it’s kind of understandable. Ollie used a deep rotation, four guys played over 30 minutes (Larrier, Antwoine Anderson, Alterique Gilbert, Tyler Polley) and another three (Isaiah Whaley, Christian Vital, Eric Cobb played over 15. For most of those who played less, namely Mamadou Diarra and Josh Carlton, it seemed to be more of a matchup issue. Against bigger teams, those two will probably be in the mix a bit more. Still, once Adams is back on the court, this looks like this roster goes nine or 10 deep with dependable players, which is a welcome sight.

WATCH: Post-Game Video from Kevin Ollie, Jalen Adams, Terry Larrier, and More!

Gilbert Rusty

The Huskies’ point guard did not get off to an ideal start on the season, going 2-of-13 from the field and finishing with four points and three assists. He did, however, grab six rebounds, play tenacious perimeter defense, and show some quickness to the hoop. He also showed that he does have the vision to make plays and overall the offense ran pretty well with him in the driver's seat. It was a mixed bag for Gilbert but the talent is there and he should be just fine. While Antwoine Anderson stepped up to start for Adams and scored 12 points, their backcourt mate Christian Vital also didn’t have his best performance, going 1-of-6 with six points.

Freshmen Contributing

If last night is any indication, we’re going to get a steady stream of quality play from the freshman class. Isaiah Whaley (8 points, 4 rebounds) is drawing rave reviews from Kevin Ollie and Tyler Polley (9 points, 4 rebounds), who got the start Friday night, displayed a nice inside-out game with a thunderous dunk and a three-pointer to show off his shooting range.

Defense Still A Work-in-Progress

If there is one criticism of UConn’s performance, it’s that the defense allowed Colgate to get too many easy buckets. I’m not a basketball tactician so can’t really diagnose how or why this is happening, but it was disconcerting and not encouraging for when the Huskies face the better teams on their schedule.

Exhale

Ultimately, the Huskies took care of business and did exactly what they had to do by disposing of Colgate with relative ease. That they did it without Jalen Adams and by getting so many people involved is an added plus. They also hit 18 of 19 free throws! Obviously, it was just one game against a low-tier opponent, but there was a lot to like about what we saw out there.