We’re going to rapid fire this recap. Quotes and more on Thursday (assuming I have the work ethic to transcribe interviews. 40% chance).
UConn lost its 2017-18 debut on Wednesday night, getting clobbered 90-76 by Providence. It was a hastily organized exhibition game that raised $75,000 for hurricane relief and provided some generally unpleasant basketball.
Let’s do the good and bad thing.
- Alterique Gilbert, Terry Larrier and Mamadou Diarra all started for the Huskies after missing all or most of last season to injury.
- Gilbert looked great for a stretch in the second half. He scored all eight of his points after intermission and showed flashes of the breakneck speed and aggressive ball-handling that made him such an intriguing recruit.
- Jalen Adams, undoubtedly after reading this free website, did a great job of getting to the free throw line in the second half, going 9-9. He led the team with 22 points and demonstrated that he can still put points on the board when his jumper isn’t falling.
- Christian Vital, the only returning regular other than Adams, came off the bench to score 17 points. He is going to have to be this team’s go-to three-point shooter — he was 3-7 on Wednesday, fine.
- There were positive moments in the game for Eric Cobb, Josh Carlton, Tyler Polley and Isaiah Whaley. The latter three each played at least 15 minutes (which probably belongs under the Bad section). Polley was probably the most impressive, scoring on a nice drive to the basket and making four free throws.
- Here are some numbers.
Offensive Rebounds: UConn 11, Providence 3
Turnovers: UConn 10, Providence 17
Free Throws: UConn 24-31, Providence 21-35
Getting second chances on offense, taking care of the ball and making free throws is a pretty good recipe for a UConn win under most circumstances. This was a weird game.
- Providence scored 90 points, which ends up under the Good bullets only because I didn’t think the UConn defense was that bad. At the very least, it should improve enough to keep Colgate from scoring 90.
- In the words of Larrier when asked what he would say to panicking UConn fans: “It doesn’t count.” It would have been cool to win but whatever. It’d be even cooler to win the real games.
- Holy shit were the fouls annoying. Some of that is on the refs and some is on UConn (and Providence to a lesser extent) not adjusting. Seven (7) Huskies had at least two fouls in the first half. Diarra fouled out in six minutes of action. Six minutes. That’s 33.3 fouls per-40, which is really just something special.
- Hoo boy Larrier had a tough game. He scored seven points on 3-14 shooting and missed all five of his three-point attempts. He kinda looked like a guy that’s played four basketball games in the last two years, which makes sense considering he’s played four basketball games in the last two years. After the game, Larrier had an ice pack on the knee that sabotaged him last season. He sat most of the second half but only out of precaution.
- Makai Ashton-Langford is good and that’s annoying. The ghost of Glen Miller haunts UConn.
- Not having Amida Brimah is going to be a rough adjustment. UConn had two blocks in the game, both by Jalen Adams.
- The team was 6-22 from three-point range, including a maddening 2-12 in the first half when the refs were calling fouls any time a player got within 15 feet of the basket.
- UConn was terrible to start the second half. Providence ballooned a nine-point lead into a 20-point lead in four minutes. And that was after the Huskies kinda sucked in the first half. Better adjustments next time, please.
- David Onourah didn’t play after banging up his hip in practice this week. It sounds like he’ll play on Monday, but UConn could’ve used him against Providence. Using the infallible measuring abilities of my eyes, he looks like he might be the biggest guy on the roster.
Whatever. On to the next one. The Huskies begin the non-charitable portion of their exhibition schedule on Monday when Merrimack visits Hartford.