In its first game at the XL Center in 626 days, no. 24 UConn men’s basketball took care of the Coppin State Eagles, 89-54.
Adama Sanogo led the way with 20 points on 10-13 shooting while Jalen Gaffney had one of his best games in a UConn uniform with 11 points, eight assists, and five rebounds. Tyrese Martin went 3-of-5 from behind the arc en route to 15 points and six rebounds while RJ Cole had 16 points, six assists, four rebounds, and took four charges. Akok Akok played 18 minutes — his most since returning from a torn Achilles — and finished with 12 points and seven rebounds while hitting 2-of-3 from three.
After leading for all 40 minutes in the opener against CCSU, the Huskies started slow. Coppin State scored the first basket of the game and eventually built its lead to 10-6. Cole sparked the team with back-to-back baskets, followed by eight straight points from Martin. UConn capped off a 14-0 run with an alley-oop from Gaffney to Akok which sent the XL Center into a frenzy and forced the Eagles to take a timeout.
While the visitors hit a three to stop the drought, the Huskies responded with baskets from Gaffney and Akok shortly after. It took all of five minutes for UConn to flip the score from 10-6 in favor of Coppin State into a 25-13 advantage.
Sanogo scored with 7:37 left in the first half to put the Huskies up 11 and from there, the Eagles never got back within single digits. UConn took a 46-28 lead into halftime and continued to extend the gap throughout the second half en route to a 45-point victory.
Dan Hurley stuck with the starting five of Cole, Martin, Jackson, Whaley, and Sanogo for the second straight game but only used Akok, Gaffney, and Polley off the bench for the first 30 minutes. A freshman didn’t enter the game until Rahsool Diggins checked in with 9:54 left in the second half with UConn doubling up Coppin State, 70-35.
Diggins and fellow freshman Samson Johnson each played seven minutes while Richie Springs got in for four minutes. Walk-ons Matt Hurley and Andrew Hurley both made an appearance with two minutes left. Jordan Hawkins sat out for the second game in a row due to an ankle injury.
UConn improves to 2-0 on the season. Next, the Huskies will take on LIU at Gampel Pavilion on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.