UConn men at full strength for game vs. Stony Brook

Adams set to make re­turn against Stony Brook

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By David Borges

STORRS — Scooter­gate is out of the way. David On­uo­rah’s hip is bet­ter, too.

For the first time this sea­son, in­clud­ing three ex­hi­bi­tion games, UConn will be at full strength when it hosts Stony Brook today at the XL Cen­ter (7 p.m., SNY).

Jalen Adams’ sus­pen­sion has been lifted and he will play today. Adams, the ju­nior point guard, was kept out of the Huskies’ sea­son-opener on Fri­day night af­ter leav­ing the scene of an on-cam­pus scooter ac­ci­dent two nights ear­lier and be­ing charged with “evad­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

Coach Kevin Ol­lie met with Adams and his par­ents over the week­end, and be­lieves his star guard has paid his penance.

“We had a good talk,” Ol­lie said. “Everybody sat down and, hope­fully, he’s learned his les­son. Hope­fully, he’s able to make bet­ter de­ci­sions, and I think he will go­ing for­ward.”

“I’m def­i­nitely ex­cited to get back out there with my team­mates,” Adams said af­ter Mon­day’s prac­tice. “I’m just look­ing for­ward to it.”

Mean­while, grad trans­fer David On­uo­rah prac­ticed for the first time in a while af­ter sus­tain­ing a hip in­jury a few weeks ago. It’s not cer­tain he’ll play on Tues­day, but he’s ob­vi­ously made good progress.

“It’ll be great to see the team at full-go,” said Ol­lie. “It’ll add some depth to our team, with Jalen back and David back.”

The Huskies got through their first game well enough with­out Adams, top­ping Col­gate 70-58 at Gam­pel Pav­il­ion. It was hardly a per­fect night — the Raiders were within five points in the fi­nal 21⁄2 min­utes — but there was plenty to like from a young, in­ex­pe­ri­enced UConn team that was with­out its most ex­pe­ri­enced and, ar­guably, best player.

The Huskies re­bounded the ball well, played solid de­fense and got a huge ef­fort from ju­nior Terry Lar­rier, who poured in a ca­reer-high 27 points. Adams is look­ing for­ward to play­ing along­side Lar­rier for the first time in nearly a year, af­ter Lar­rier was lost for the sea­son with a torn ACL suf­fered in the Maui In­vi­ta­tional.

“Once me and Terry get out there, I think he can prob­a­bly get up to 40 in some games,” Adams said. “I feel like me and him have a great con­nec­tion. When I get on the court, we’re al­ways in synch. He knows where I”m at, I know where he’s at.”

UConn also got some nice min­utes from its fresh­men, par­tic­u­larly Tyler Pol­ley and Isa­iah Wha­ley. Pol­ley started and fin­ished with nine points and four re­bounds in 30 min­utes.

“I was pretty ner­vous start­ing, but I think I played well and con­trib­uted to the win,” Pol­ley said.

Added Ol­lie: “We have to get his de­fense a lit­tle bit bet­ter, but that’s fresh­men. If he can do that, where we can switch one through four or one and three with him, it’ll be re­ally help­ing our de­fense. I’m very proud of his poise. He’s a sponge, he lis­tens, he’s very coach­able. He’s a ‘yes’ man. What­ever I tell him to do, he says yes, and goes out and tries to ac­com­plish it.”

Ol­lie had said the same thing a week or so ear­lier about Wha­ley. On Fri­day night, Wha­ley popped off the bench and added eight points and four boards (in­clud­ing a trio of im­pres­sive put­backs) in his 15 min­utes.

“They’re re­ally re­ceiv­ing the coach­ing,” Ol­lie said of his fresh­men. “They’re be­liev­ing in the sys­tem, they’re be­liev­ing in the pro­gram. They’re not act­ing like fresh­men, on and off the bas­ket­ball court. I’m proud of our fresh­man group.”

Pol­ley and Wha­ley aren’t the only new­com­ers to pro­duce for UConn early on. Eric Cobb, JUCO trans­fer, grabbed a team-high eight re­bounds on Fri­day. Frosh for­ward Josh Carl­ton only played eight min­utes against Col­gate, but he’s shown flashes in pre­sea­son ex­hi­bi­tions.

Now, the Huskies could add On­uo­rah, a Cor­nell trans­fer, into the mix. And, of course, they’ll hap­pily wel­come back their most ex­pe­ri­enced and — per­haps — best player, Adams.

RIM RATTLINGS

Adams drew praise from Ol­lie and his team­mates for the help he gave from the bench on Fri­day night.

“There’s dif­fer­ent things you see when you’re not on the court,” Adams ex­plained. “When I was on the bench, I could see some of those mis­matches that Terry or Al­terique could take ad­van­tage of. Some­times, it’s good to have a player-coach. Some­times, guys don’t al­ways see it from the coach’s point of view. But when an­other player tells them, they kind of pick up on it and agree with it a lit­tle more.”

Jes­sica Hill / As­so­ci­ated Press

UConn’s Jalen Adams, left, and Chris­tian Vi­tal share a laugh dur­ing the sec­ond half of Fri­day’s game against Col­gate.

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