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Takeaways: UConn Men’s Basketball Survives Stony Brook

The Huskies’ second win of the season did not offer as much confidence as the first.

The UConn Huskies take on the Stony Brook Seawolves in a men's college basketball game at XL Center in Hartford, CT on November 14, 2017.
Terry Larrier’s foul trouble hampered the Huskies for most of the night.
Ian Bethune

It was way too close, and UConn played like crap most of the way, but the Huskies overcame 19 turnovers and a poor shooting start to pull out a win over Stony Brook Tuesday evening.

Kevin Ollie’s squad deserves scrutiny for struggling against a team it should have pounded, but the way the Huskies battled with their backs against the wall is impressive.

Here are some takeaways following the second game of the season.

Defense?

At its best, the Husky defense looks like it could really pester the heck out of any team. Too often, however, both Colgate and Stony Brook were able to find easy lay-ups and open looks from deep. It looks like a matter of rotation and communication, which can be hard with so many new players. Hopefully, it’s something UConn improves on across the season.

Big men and rebounding. We got it.

David Onuorah and Eric Cobb are big, bad dudes. Onuorah comes from UConn’s power forward feeder school Cornell and made an immediate impact in his first game back from injury with seven strong rebounds. Cobb, a junior college transfer, grabbed seven boards of his own, adding four points.

Freshman Josh Carlton has shown a nice array of skills for a big man and his 3/4-style classmates Tyler Polley and Isaiah Whaley have shown flashes of strong play as well. Throw in redshirt freshman Mamadou Diarra and juco transfer Kwintin Williams and this could be the deepest and most productive frontcourt group of the Kevin Ollie era.

The Jalen Adams Season

In the second half of his season debut, Jalen Adams certainly looked like the kind of player who could pull a Napier or Walker and carry this team to miraculous heights. He didn’t have it at all in the first half but really lit up in the second when UConn needed somebody.

There’s no reason to believe Adams won’t be more consistent across the season, so his assertiveness and unstoppability were exciting to see. He and Larrier are going to need to put together some joint masterpieces to get UConn the wins it needs against the better teams on the schedule.

Rotation, Rotation, Rotation

Kevin Ollie’s substitution strategy has been under question over the course of his tenure and with good reason. Once again, we’re seeing guys who could use more time and questionable lineups out there.

One can understand Ollie’s need to experiment given all the new faces on the roster. But when push is coming to shove, as it was against Stony Brook, he needs to find his best guys and make sure they take care of it. He sat Terry Larrier immediately and for the rest of the first half after he picked up two quick fouls—not a fan. He also only played Eric Cobb 14 minutes, which isn’t enough for the guy who looked like UConn’s best big man.

Vital Signs (Sorry, sorry I’m trying to erase it)

Fan favorite Christian Vital has not had the impact on the season some may have hoped. He’s, understandably, losing minutes to Alterique Gilbert and Antwoine Anderson and is shooting 2-for-12 from the field, including 1-of-10 from three. With just a few more of those shots falling, he’ll be right back in the thick of things. He doesn’t seem to be forcing it but just hasn’t had the touch so far.