In what might be the seniors’ final game played in Gampel, Dan Hurley went with his typical starting lineup. I think this speaks volumes to just how much everyone has bought into the program. There’s no reason to change things up when it’s working, and the individuals understand that they are a part of something bigger than themselves.
UConn’s performance this game was emblematic of this view, a complete team effort, resulting in a 98-82 blowout win over a hot Georgetown team.
UConn started off looking like one of the hottest teams in the nation, jumping out to a 12-0 lead. Isaiah Whaley passed up a corner three on their first offensive possession and worked the ball into Adama Sanogo who scored on a tough shot inside. 2-0 UConn. On the next possession, Isaiah Whaley didn’t pass up a three this time, sinking it from the wing. 5-0 UConn. Off a nice assist from Tyrese Martin, Whaley made another layup. 7-0 UConn. After a dunk from Bouknight, Patrick Ewing had seen enough and called an early timeout. 9-0 UConn. Even after the timeout, the Huskies continued their hot start, a James Bouknight three. 12-0 UConn. Qudus Wahab finally put Georgetown in the scoring column about 3.5 minutes into the game and it looked like Georgetown started to settle in a bit, facilitated by Isaiah Whaley picking up an early second foul. That was short-lived.
Not long after Whaley headed to the bench, Josh Carlton his first minutes of the game on senior day. Tyler Polley entered the game shortly thereafter as the Huskies continued to roll, up 21-11 by the under-12 TV timeout. Polley narrowly missed his first 3-point attempt of the day, but Josh Carlton pulled down the offensive rebound and was fouled on the put back. Carlton, a 56 percent free throw shooter, sank them both to score his first points on senior day. Jalen Gaffney joined the offensive party, hitting two 3s and soon after followed that up with a dunk, all assisted by R.J. Cole.
People should start taking notice: Jalen Gaffney is an athlete. Georgetown was forced to take their second timeout of the half, down 33-16. The Huskies continued to pour it on and dominate the offensive glass. Polley splashed a three to put the Huskies up 42-20 nearing the four-minute TV timeout. We even got to see Brendan Adams enter the game in the first half, who is also being honored on Senior Day. On his first possession, he had a nice lob pass inside to Carlton who finished with a slam.
The Huskies dominated in all facets of the game in the first half. UConn shot 57.6 percent (19-33, 13 assists on 19 made field goals) from the field and 43.8 percent (7-16) from deep while outrebounding Georgetown (the best rebounding team in the Big East) 23-9, which included an 8-0 advantage on the offensive glass. Total domination, the Huskies could not be stopped and took a 51-24 lead into half time.
To start the second half, Whaley picked things up offensively where UConn left off and backed down his defender for a lay in, but quickly picked up his third foul. Jackson replaced Whaley. Georgetown came out as the aggressor in the second half and forced UConn into a sloppy start. Hurley called an early timeout following a 7-0 Georgetown run. The Huskies responded, but Georgetown continued to play much better in the second half whereas UConn was playing a bit too relaxed, presumably playing against the clock instead of the opponent. Give the Hoyas credit though, they played much better in the second half and never quit. They cut the lead, but UConn kept Georgetown out of reach, never letting them closer than 16, when it was too little, too late.
UConn finished the game shooting 59.3 percent from the field (35-59, 22 assisted field goals), and 42.8% from deep (12-28) and won the rebounding battle, 35-26. Bouknight led the way with an efficient 21 points. Whaley (11 points), Polley (11 points), Carlton (7 points, 7 rebounds), and Brendan Adams (2 points, 2 assists) all got to experience a huge win in their final game at Gampel. If only they got to experience the support of the UConn faithful and a packed house. As the Huskies know, there is still more work to do. Their season is just getting started.
Next up: The Huskies finish the regular season with a final record of 14-6 (10-6) and will be the 3 seed in the Big East Tournament, played at Madison Square Garden.