In a game where they sometimes looked like a well-oiled machine and other times looked like an unorganized wreck, the UConn Huskies prevailed over New Hampshire, 88-62, at the XL Center Sunday afternoon.
Four UConn players finished in double-digits, led by Alterique Gilbert’s efficient 21-point effort, and the Huskies did a nice job overall of keeping turnovers to a minimum, with 10 on the day after giving away 48 in their previous two games.
UConn did start the game flat, once again, trailing by as much as nine early on. But the Huskies mounted a 15-0 run in the middle of the half powered by their underclassmen. Freshmen guards James Bouknight and Jalen Gaffney offered plenty of hope and optimism for this program’s future with 7 and 5 first-half points on their way to finishing with 14 and 8, respectively. Bouknight also grabbed seven rebounds while Gaffney dished out five assists. These guys can ball, folks.
But UConn is still a team that struggles with consistency and disappears for stretches. Despite the large run in the first half, Dan Hurley’s squad was up by just four at halftime.
The Huskies sprung out of the gate in the second half, as nine straight points by Alterique Gilbert pushed the lead to 15. The game went back and forth from there but UConn maintained a solid lead throughout. Gilbert continued playing well and plenty of others got involved as the Huskies cruised to victory.
Freshman big Akok Akok added 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Akok always seems like he could be more involved in the offense, but the Huskies have a bunch of guys who are willing and able to take shots. Christian Vital scored 15 points and added 7 rebounds.
Next up, Hurley and company will have one more tune-up against NJIT on December 29th before a January 1st tilt against Cincinnati on the road to open up conference play. The NJIT game will take place at 1 p.m. at the XL Center and televised on SNY.