Amidst a lively atmosphere in the newly named Amica Mutual Pavilion, UConn men’s basketball dropped its second straight game, losing to Providence, 73-61, to fall to 14-2 on the season.
UConn appeared to be in control from the opening tip, scoring the first bucket and holding on to the lead until 5:29 was left in the first half. The start of the game was fast-paced and fairly evenly matched, with Adama Sanogo and Donovan Clingan leading the way for the Huskies. Sanogo scored all 11 of his points in the first half, while Clingan scored six of his 12 points in the first 20 minutes.
Things seemed to turn for the Huskies once Andre Jackson got his second foul and sat the rest of the half. During that time, PC’s threes started falling and it climbed back into the game and took a 33-30 lead into the break. The Friars ran a 3⁄4 press frequently that was effective in slowing UConn down.
The second half went worse for the Huskies. Providence was better from behind the arc and at getting to the foul line, and it made a difference. The Friars were in the bonus five minutes into the second half and the crowd got behind the home team every step of the way as they built up their lead. UConn rallied to make it close a couple of times but by the end, this was a comfortable win for the hosts.
Bryce Hopkins, a Kentucky transfer, finished with 27 points to lead all scorers. UConn had trouble finding someone to guard him and then got pushed around in the second half, letting it slip away as the mental mistakes piled up.
Jackson, Sanogo, and Hawkins needed to be sharper and the Huskies absolutely need more from their guards. Nahiem Alleyne and Hassan Diarra combined for three points, Jackson had three, and Tristen Newton had six points. Hawkins finished with 15 points.
From three, UConn shot an abysmal 1-of-7 in the first half and 4-of-15 in the second half. Turnovers, rebounds, and second-chance points were basically even.
Next up, the Huskies are looking for answers as they look to avoid losing three straight when they host Creighton at Gampel Pavilion. Tip-off is at noon and the game will be televised on FOX.