UConn gets back to work Tuesday against Stony Brook in Hartford
UConn coach Kevin Ollie could have his full roster at his disposal Tuesday night.
It's a noteworthy accomplishment given what's transpired since the beginning of last season.
After playing with as few as six players at times last season, the Huskies opened the regular season on Friday shorthanded again, operating without suspended starting guard Jalen Adams and graduate transfer David Onuorah, who's been sidelined with a hip injury.
They both could see action Tuesday against Stony Brook in a non-conference game at the XL Center in Hartford (7 p.m., SNY).
Ollie lifted Adams' suspension, so the junior guard will be back in the lineup. Whether Onuorah, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound forward, plays depends on how he responds from his first full practice on Monday. He's expected to be a regular member of the rotation this season.
"For the first time, it will be great to see everybody full go," Ollie said after Monday's workout at the Werth Center. "It will really add some depth to our team with Jalen back and having David back."
The Huskies are eager to find out what they can do with a healthy and deep team.
"When we're at full power, I think our team is one of the top teams in America," said Adams, who practiced on Monday. "I'm looking forward to all of us being out there and just getting after it."
With Adams, UConn's top returning scorer, watching from the bench, UConn beat Colgate 70-58 on Friday night. Adams acted as a player-coach on the sidelines, offering advice and encouraging his teammates.
It offered Adams a different perspective.
"We showed spurts how good we really could be," Adams said. "We've just got to keep it up consistently. When I get out there, I think my job is to make sure that we keep it up or even make those spurts longer as we grow throughout the start of the season."
Ollie was impressed with how Adams handled the suspension that was handed down after a scooter accident on Wednesday night. The UConn coach sat down and talked with Adams and the junior's parents about the matter.
"We had a good talk," Ollie said. "Hopefully, he's learned his lesson and hopefully he's able to make better decisions and I think he will going forward."
Adams is happy to be able to take an active role against Stony Brook, which opened its season with a 76-61 loss to Maryland on Friday.
"I'm just anxious to get out there with them and celebrate the win tomorrow," Adams said.
The Huskies have good reason to be optimistic. They've never lost to Stony Brook, winning all five games in the series. They also showed some promising signs in the season opener.
Freshman forward Tyler Polley's play in his debut was one of the bright shots. He finished with nine points and four rebounds in a starting role. Fierce competition in practice prepared Polley for game day action.
"It's been crazy," Polley said. "The competition is unreal. We just go out there every day and everybody fights for minutes. It's been great."
Since Friday, the Huskies have worked on increasing their defensive pressure and improving offensive execution.
"We want to get our pressure going," Ollie said. "We had just five steals in our last game, but we did have 26 points off of turnovers. We want to get more steals. ... We want them to be uncomfortable. I think we did that to a point (against Colgate), but it wasn't to a Level 5. It was probably about a three."
Stony Brook, which is picked to finish fourth in the America East, is rebuilding with only two starters returning from last year's 18-14 team. Against Maryland, the Seawolves fell in an 18-point halftime hole before riding some hot 3-point shooting to cut into the deficit in the second half. They converted nine shots from beyond the arc overall.
Last season's poor start has taught the Huskies not to take any opponent too lightly.
"We've got to really be on our game and we've got to come in and play from the first five minutes," Ollie said.
UCONN vs. STONY BROOK
Location: XL Center, Hartford
Tip: 7 p.m. (SNY)
Records: UConn 1-0, Stony Brook 0-1
Last game: UConn beat Colgate, 70-58, Friday; Stony Brook lost to Maryland, 76-61, Friday.
Probable starters: UConn, 6-0 redshirt fr. guard Alterique Gilbert (4 pts, 6 rebs), 6-3 jr. guard Jalen Adams, 6-8 redshirt jr. forward Terry Larrier (27 pts, 6 rebs), 6-8 fr. forward Tyler Polley (9 pts, 4 rebs), jr. forward Eric Cobb (0 pts, 8 rebs)
Stony Brook, 6-1 fr. guard Jordan McKenzie (6 pts, 3 assists), 6-0 sr. guard UC Iroegbu (6 pts), 6-6 sr. guard Akwasi Yeboah (15 pts, 6 rebs), 6-7 sr. forward Junior Saintel (2 pts, 5 rebs), 6-7 sr. forward Tyrell Sturdivant (17 pts, 3 rebs)
Noteworthy: Adams back after serving suspension. ... Series: UConn leads, 5-0, winning last meeting 73-62 in 2012 in Storrs. ... Huskies won their last 29 XL Center season openers, last losing to Virginia in 1987. ... Seawolves return seven letterwinners, including starters Sturdivant and Saintel, and welcome five newcomers. Picked to finish fourth in America East preseason coaches' poll. ... Top reserve: 6-6 senior swingman Bryan Sekunda (7 pts). ... Hot: Larrier a season-high 27 points in opener on 11-for-18 from field. Cold: Gilbert went 2-for-13 from field. ... Injury update: UConn graduate transfer David Onuorah (hip) probable. ... Stony Brook head coach Jeff Boals and assistant Geno Ford played for the Ohio team that stunned UConn in the 1993 Big Island Invitational in Hawaii. ... Tonight's game part of PK80 Tournament that continues in Portland, Ore., next week. ... Up next: UConn hosts Boston University Sunday in Hartford.
— Gavin Keefe
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