UConn coach Dan Hurley said he saw some good stretches from his team during Saturday’s 107-67 victory over Stonehill, just not enough of them.
Hurley added that he’ll be looking for a more complete effort from the sixth-ranked Huskies moving forward, starting with Tuesday night’s matchup with Mississippi Valley State in Hartford, Conn.
“I thought we played segments there,” Hurley said in Saturday’s postgame press conference. “Obviously not a full 40-minute game, but I thought you saw the potential at times where the defense was really good and the offense was really sharp. We start the game the way we did, which is as good as you can probably do it, and then human nature sets in and you let down your guard. And then the same thing at the start of the second half. Obviously not happy about that.
“Happy to get the win obviously, but (we need to play) a full 40 minutes. Especially moving forward when we step up in weight class here soon.”
UConn (2-0) began the game with a 12-0 run and led 52-30 at halftime. The Huskies outscored the Skyhawks by a 26-4 margin at the start of the second half.
UConn outscored Stonehill 56-26 in the paint and outrebounded the Skyhawks 42-26.
Tristen Newton, who led the offense with 22 points, was one of five Huskies who scored in double figures. Freshman Stephon Castle finished the game with 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists to help UConn extend its nonconference winning streak to 19 games.
The Huskies received a 16-point performance from Donovan Clingan, 15 points from Alex Karaban and 12 from Rutgers transfer Cam Spencer.
“Cam’s type of player … I think the best gauge for players is when he’s out of the game, I can’t wait to put him back in the game,” Hurley said. “You feel that way about Alex. You feel that way about Cam. (Spencer) hasn’t got his 3-point shot going yet, but he’s had a huge impact on our offense. The way the ball moves, our intelligence, our game-processing.”
Mississippi Valley State (0-2) is coming off Friday night’s 82-43 loss at Oklahoma. Rayquan Brown, a 6-foot-6 senior guard, scored a team-high 14 points in the loss. He had 17 points in the team’s opener, a 106-60 setback against LSU.
Delta Devils coach George Ivory said he has high expectations for his team this season.
“We plan on trying to compete for a SWAC championship,” Ivory said. “That’s our goal. We want to lead the league in defense (and) cut back on our turnovers.”
UConn, which opened its season with a 95-52 victory over Northern Arizona, may get a tougher test Sunday, when it faces Indiana.
Hurley said playing opponents like Northern Arizona and Stonehill are necessary, even if the score isn’t competitive.
“You’re trying to develop a mentality of quality — top quality and top execution and full 40-minute game mentality,” he said. “These games are important. We need to be able to play these young guys, freshmen, get them minutes. Let them build some confidence before we start playing these monster games.”
–Field Level Media
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