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UConn's Bouknight, Sanogo honored by Big East

Sophomore James Bouknight's elbow injury kept him out of eight of UConn's 17 Big East games but he played well enough when healthy to earn all-league honors.

Big East Conference coaches voted Bouknight to the first team after selecting the sophomore guard to the preseason second team.

UConn forward Adama Sanogo also earned Big East honors, being named to the all-league freshman team.

Sanogo and Bouknight helped the Huskies finish the regular season third in the league standings.

Since returning to the lineup on Feb. 16, Bouknight picked up where left off before suffering his injury on Jan. 5 at Marquette, averaging 20 points in the last six games. He's averaging 20.2 points and 5.6 rebounds overall.

Bouknight is the 21st UConn player to be an All-Big East first team selection.

Other All-Big East first team members include Creighton's Marcus Zegarowski, Villanova's Collin Gillespie and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Seton Hall's Sandro Mamukelashvili and St. John's Julian Champagnie. Mamukelashvili and Robinson-Earl were unanimous picks.

Sanogo, who's averaging 6.9 points and 4.9 rebounds, is joined on the All-Big East freshman team by Marquette's Dawson Garcia, St. John's Posh Alexander, Butler's Chuck Harris and Xavier's Colby Jones. He's the 27th UConn player to earn the Big East freshman honor.

Creighton's Damien Jefferson, Providence's David Duke and Nate Watson, Xavier's Zach Freemantle and Paul Scruggs were named to the All-Big East second team. Honorable mentions include Creighton's Denzel Mahoney, Villanova's Jermaine Samuels and Georgetown's Jahvon Blair.

Wide open tournament

Expect a wide open Big East tournament starting Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Third-seeded UConn, No. 1 Villanova, No. 2 Creighton, No. 4 St. John's and No. 5 Seton Hall earned first round byes and advanced to the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Villanova will be playing without starting point guard Gillespie who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week.

"With all due respect, I feel it's pretty wide open," UConn coach Dan Hurley said Saturday. "Obviously prayers and a speedy recovery to Collin. Brutal stuff right there. That dude's a warrior and a champion and he'll be back better than ever. But I felt like there were multiple teams that could win this tournament next week regardless. Maybe five or six teams that have the ability whether there were injuries or not.

"I know we can win it. I know Creighton, Villanova, Seton Hall can win it. St. John's can win it. Xavier can win it. There's a number of teams that can win it, including Providence. There's six or seven teams that have got a shot to win this thing."

The Huskies (14-6, 11-6) open Big East tournament play Thursday in the quarterfinals, facing the winner of the first round game between No. 6 Providence and No. 11 DePaul.

Surging UConn is the hottest team in the Big East going into the league tournament having won six of its last seven games.

News and notes

On Sunday, Sanogo was named the Big East freshman of the week for the second time this season, averaging 13 points and 9.5 rebounds in wins over Seton Hall and Georgetown, while Bouknight made the weekly honor roll. ... Big East will announce individual awards this week, starting with defensive player of the year, most improved, top sixth man and sportsmanship honor on Monday and then top coach, player, freshman and student-athlete on Wednesday. ... UConn's win over Georgetown on Saturday was Hurley's 200th of his coaching career. ... The Huskies are 31st in the NCAA NET Rankings and 23rd in Pomeroy Ratings.

g.keefe@theday.com

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