Off to their best start since 1998, No. 3 UConn looks to remain undefeated when it hosts longtime Big East rival Georgetown on Tuesday night at Storrs, Conn.
The Huskies (12-0, 1-0 Big East), have soared after they weren’t ranked in the preseason poll to their highest spot since 2009. They are relying on a high-octane offense that enters Tuesday’s contest averaging 83.6 points per game, 17th in the NCAA entering play Sunday.
Junior big man and Big East Preseason Player of the Year Adama Sanogo paces UConn with 19.0 points per game, while Jordan Hawkins contributes 14.2. San Diego transfer Joey Calcaterra (8.7 points) makes 55 percent of his 3-point tries as the Huskies’ top threat from the perimeter.
Sanogo tied a season high with 27 points as UConn defeated Butler 68-46 in its Big East opener Saturday in a game where the Huskies struggled to score at an efficient clip. Coach Dan Hurley’s squad shot below 40 percent (39.4) for just the second time this season and scored a season-low in points.
Saturday’s win still was a statement for the Huskies, who proved they can rely on their defense and physicality to seize control of a game. UConn smothered the Bulldogs to 29.6-percent shooting and held them to just 46 points, both of which were season-bests for the Huskies.
UConn also had a 54-30 rebounding advantage, which included 18 offensive boards.
“Our recipe travels: Dominate the backboard, play elite defense and be a high-assist team,” Hurley said, according to the CT Insider. “Plus-24 on the glass, holding them to 30-percent from the field and we had 20 assists. That’s gonna play. A lot.”
The Huskies’ physicality will be tested on Tuesday by a Hoyas frontcourt that includes Akok Akok, who played two seasons at UConn before transferring to Georgetown following the 2021-22 season.
The 6-foot-10 Akok protects the paint alongside fellow big man Qudus Wahab, as 6-11 center, as the duo leads a Hoyas defense that logs 4.9 blocks per game, good for 36th in the NCAA, entering Sunday’s play.
Georgetown (5-7, 0-1) travels to Storrs still trying to catch its breath after letting Xavier run away with a 102-89 win on Friday night at Washington, D.C. in the Hoyas’ conference opener.
The Musketeers’ 102 points spoiled an efficient night offensively for Georgetown, who shot above 50 percent (51.6) from the field for only the second time this season and committed a season-low-tying six turnovers.
“We let them get hot and when you give up 50 points in the paint, when you (allow) 11 second-chance points and 17 fast break points … ll of those things hurt,” Hoyas yead coach Patrick Ewing said. “On the other end, … we scored 89 points and usually when you score 89 points you have an opportunity to win.”
Primo Spears scored 22 points in the loss for his team-leading sixth 20-point game this season, while Brandon Murray added 16 in addition to Wahab’s 15.
Spears and Murray lead the Hoyas with 17.6 and 15.1 points per game, respectively, while Wahab grabs a team-best 7.7 rebounds per game.
Tuesday’s showdown is the 71st all-time meeting between Georgetown and UConn. The Hoyas lead the all-time series 36-34, though the Huskies have claimed the last four meetings.
–Field Level Media