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Takeaways from UConn men’s basketball win over Boston University

Down three starters, the Huskies still came out and blitzed the Terriers en route to a 29-point win

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn’s men’s basketball improves to 2-0 after handling the Boston University Terriers 86-57. The Huskies were able to jump out to an early 20-2 lead in the first nine minutes of the game, and never let the scoring margin dip below 13 points the rest of the way. UConn was playing without starters Jordan Hawkins and Samson Johnson due to injuries suffered during the season, and are still without Andre Jackson, who suffered a finger injury in the offseason.

Once again the disparity in talent level and size was apparent, and the Huskies took full advantage. They dominated on the boards, limiting Boston’s second chance points to a minimum and contesting every shot. The Terriers are no snooze though, as they were picked to finish second in the Patriot league and are a very experienced team with a starting five made up up all seniors. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the Huskies’ second win of the young season.

Scorin’ Sanogo

Ryan Goodman: The junior big man could not be stopped in this one, getting whatever we wanted against a undersized Boston front line. Sanogo ended with 27 points, which was four shy of a career high, and 15 rebounds. While Sanogo is expected to put up numbers against inferior opponents, he pulled out the full array of moves in this one. Sealing his defender for easy entry passes that led to buckets, utilizing his drop-step-and-spin move to get to the rim, and gobbling up offensives boards for put backs. It was mostly vintage Sanogo in this one, but he also flashed some new skills as well, hitting his first career three point shots and looking super comfortable doing so. These weren’t the end-of-shot-clock prayers that are sometimes answered. Both of the long range shots were in-rhythm threes that Sanogo did not hesitate on.

I don’t want to overreact to Sanogo putting up numbers against teams UConn should handily beat, but he is doing what is expected of him and then some right now. I cant wait to see him battle Oregon’s front line on Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks.

Dan Madigan: It is so fun to see Sanogo just taking care of business against these mediocre opponents. We knew he would be one of the country’s best players — he was the Preseason Big East Player of the Year for a reason — but it’s already super evident he has taken his game to another level this season. He’s in incredible shape, has grown his game to shoot from deep with ease, and is routinely staying out of foul trouble. His offensive game is as polished as ever, and it’s obvious that he’s not only a top player in the Big East, but has a real chance of being an All-American this season.

Improvement from Behind the Arc

Goodman: We all talked about the shooting woes from downtown last game, and the Huskies responded in a big way against Boston. UConn shot 10-21 (47.6%) from downtown in this one, a 20% improvement from a week ago. All five starters hit at least one three, led by Nahiem Alleyne who was 3-6 after starting the season 0-4. Call it opening game jitters, call it an off-night, whatever it was against Stonehill none of us thought it would be emblematic of what we would see this season and UConn did a great job of helping support that take with their shooting performance yesterday. It’s also worth noting that their supposed best 3-point shooter Jordan Hawkins didn’t even play in this one, so the fact that they were able to be this efficient from downtown should instill a lot of confidence in Dan Hurley. With Sanogo now comfortably taking and making threes as well, every starter on this UConn team is capable of burying a long-range shot whenever. That is an incredible luxury to have, especially in a sport dominated by bigs right now.

Guard play still needs some work

Madigan: It’s hard to complain about a wire-to-wire victory by nearly 30 points, but the guard play is still rough around the edges to the point where it likely won’t cut it against some of the tougher teams on the schedule. Both Joey Calcaterra and Tristen Newton were especially careless with the ball, combining for half of UConn’s 14 turnovers. The Huskies definitely have guards out of position with injuries to Hawkins and Jackson, but the team needs to be more careful as competition improves. Hassan Diarra (six points, six assists) has been a bright spot so far, but is arguably the most limited of the backcourt on the offensive end. It won’t always be an issue once Hawkins and Jackson return, but UConn’s current guards need to be less sloppy to avoid an embarrassing buy game loss going forward.