UConn men look to build on a season-opening win
The jubilant post-game scene posted on social media showed a super-charged Dan Hurley bouncing off his players in the locker room while celebrating his first win as UConn basketball coach on Thursday night.
The day after a much calmer Hurley watched the game film of the Morehead State win and evaluated his team's performance before turning his attention to UConn's next opponent today.
Hurley gave his Huskies (1-0) mixed reviews.
"I wasn't happy with the pressure but was relatively happy with some of the defense we showed in the halfcourt," Hurley said on Friday. "We were getting to help a lot quicker than we have been. But I was not happy."
"We gave away too many free points during the game, in terms of the first half points off turnovers. The guards were over dribbling too much and not getting off the ball quickly enough, which led to some turnovers and some run-outs. And then the second-chance points continue to be an issue for us. Obviously we have to get better that way.
The Huskies have to improve across the board with two upcoming difficult games against quality competition in No. 16 Syracuse Thursday and either Iowa or Oregon Friday in the 2K Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York.
First, they play another regional round 2K Empire Classic game at 5 p.m. Sunday against Missouri-Kansas City (0-2) at Gampel Pavilion. The Kangaroos suffered road losses to Loyola-Chicago, a 2018 NCAA Final Four participant, and Iowa by 31 and 13, respectively.
One game into the season, Hurley's focus is on continuing to implement his system.
"Obviously we try to figure out their personnel as best we can and where they can hurt us, but we're so locked in on the things we have to improve about ourselves," Hurley said. "They've played two brutal road games so obviously they're pretty battle-tested coming in here."
The Huskies could be without reserve forward Isaiah Whaley, who sprained his ankle in the opener. He's considered day-to-day, but it's not considered to be a long-term issue.
Josh Carlton helped power the Huskies in the season opener, scoring a career-high 17 points and adding eight rebounds. The rest of his frontcourt teammates combined for six points and five rebounds.
UConn's backcourt depth is already proving to be huge plus. Starters Jalen Adams, Christian Vital and Alterique Gilbert are a productive trio while Hurley can bring graduate transfer Tarin Smith and freshman Brendan Adams, who combined for 18 points on Thursday, off the bench.
The Huskies didn't skip a beat when Jalen Adams went to the bench due to foul trouble.
"It's rare in the first year of a rebuild, rebuilding a program, where you have the depth at such a critical position," Hurley said. email@example.com