Jalen Adams ral­lies Huskies in re­turn Page C1

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By David Borges

HART­FORD — UConn trailed at half­time and couldn’t re­gain the lead for the first 17 min­utes of the lat­ter half, trail­ing by as many as nine points with 5 1⁄2 min­utes to play. Vi­sions of Wag­ner or North­east­ern were likely danc­ing in the heads of the 5,431 at the XL Cen­ter.

“A lot of peo­ple in the arena prob­a­bly thought we were gonna lose,” coach Kevin Ol­lie ac­knowl­edged.

Then, Jalen Adams hap­pened.

Adams, in his sea­son de­but af­ter be­ing sus­pended from the Huskies’ open­ing game, scored all 19 of his points in the sec­ond half and al­most sin­gle­hand­edly led UConn to a 72-64, come­back vic­tory over Stony Brook on Tues­day night.

“Jay stepped up,” said Ol­lie, “and was the leader and the All-Amer­i­can that we know he is.”

Ul­ti­mately, it wasn’t pretty. But it was a win for UConn. A win the 2-0 Huskies don’t get a year ago. In fact, they didn’t, los­ing their first two games of the sea­son, at home, to the afore­men­tioned Wag­ner and North­east­ern.

“We def­i­nitely wouldn’t have won that game last year,” said Ol­lie. “This team right here just shows the re­silience and the heart. We don’t want to be in those sit­u­a­tions, but to show that we can come back and play UConn bas­ket­ball was a great feat for our guys.”

Af­ter a Tyrell Stur­di­vant 3-pointer with 5:37 left, the Sea­wolves (0-2) had a 62-53 lead and the home crowd was un­der­stand­ably ner­vous, even boo­ing.

Fresh­man Tyler Pol­ley coun­tered with a trey, and it was all Adams af­ter that. The ju­nior guard scored six straight points, on a pair of drives (the lat­ter giv­ing UConn its first lead since 4:57 left in the first half ) and a jumper to put the Huskies up for good.

Stony Brook didn’t score again un­til a harm­less hoop with 15 sec­onds left.

Af­ter miss­ing all five of his shots in a score­less first half, Adams went 8-for-11 in the lat­ter.

“My team­mates know I’m pretty good on the pickand-roll,” he said. “They were kind of telling me to do my thing, and if I get in

any trouble, they’ve got my back.”

Al­terique Gil­bert added 14 points for UConn, Terry Lar­rier 12 and Ant­woine An­der­son 10, in­clud­ing a wing jumper with 1:02 left that put the Huskies up five.

Stony Brook held a 31-25 lead at the break af­ter can­ning five of its first eight 3-point­ers. The Huskies, mean­while, mis­se­fired on their first five at­tempts from be­yond the arc and were just 2-for-10 at the break.

It didn’t help that Lar­rier picked up two quick fouls and spent the last 15 min­utes of the half on the bench. Or that the Huskies couldn’t get out on the break at all, de­spite re­bound­ing the ball pretty well.

Or that Adams and Chris­tian Vi­tal com­bined to shoot 1-for-10 from the floor.

It didn’t get much bet­ter through much of the sec­ond half, un­til Jalen Adams hap­pened — and the Huskies won a game they wouldn’t have won a year ago.

“I can’t even com­pare last year’s team to this year’s team,” said Adams. “This is just a whole dif­fer­ent team. I think this team just runs off of en­ergy. As soon as some­body brings high en­ergy, everybody just feeds off it.”

RIM RATTLINGS:

Af­ter sit­ting out all three ex­hi­bi­tion games and the Huskies’ sea­son-opener against Col­gate with a hip in­jury, David On­uo­rah made his UConn de­but on Tues­day. The 6-foot-9 grad trans­fer came in and im­me­di­ately made his pres­ence felt on the boards, grab­bing four re­bounds in his first three min­utes of ac­tion and fin­ish­ing with a team-high seven over­all.

“It felt good just to fi­nally be out there,” said On­uo­rah, who sat out all but one game last sea­son at Cor­nell. “I was anx­ious, ex­cited to be out there, and just thank­ful for the op­por­tu­nity.”

On­uo­rah in­jured his hip prior to UConn’s ex­hi­bi­tion game against Providence a few weeks ago and had been held out of prac­tice un­til Mon­day.

“Today was the first day I re­ally thought, ‘Wow, I’m here,’” On­uo­rah said.

Said Ol­lie: “He was get­ting ev­ery re­bound, he was play­ing with en­ergy, set­ting phe­nom­e­nal screens. That’s how Jalen was get­ting open on some of those plays. He’s a very smart player, but he plays with juice. I thought his juice was phe­nom­e­nal today.”

Jes­sica Hill / As­so­ci­ated Press

UConn’s Jalen Adams makes a bas­ket over Stony Brook’s UC Iroegbu (1) dur­ing the sec­ond half Tues­day in Hart­ford. The Huskies trailed by nine points be­fore Adams led the come­back.

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