Without two of its top players, UConn will look to rebound on Saturday afternoon when it faces St. Bonaventure in Newark, N.J.
The 15th-ranked Huskies (8-2) saw their three-game winning streak snapped in a 56-53 setback to West Virginia on Wednesday.
The Bonnies (8-1) are riding their own three-game winning streak following a 74-61 victory over Loyola-Maryland on Wednesday.
UConn made just 3 of 21 shots from 3-point range in a cold shooting performance versus the Mountaineers.
Isaiah Whaley had a team-leading 15 points, but his tip-in with 12 seconds remaining in the second half snapped a 4-minute, 23-second scoring drought for the Huskies.
“I’d say out of the 18 that we missed, I’d probably say eight, nine, or 10 of those (3-point attempts) were pretty good looks,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “We make a couple of them, we walk out with the win.”
Adama Sanogo (abdominal strain) and Tyrese Martin (wrist) are expected to be out for multiple weeks for the Huskies.
Sanogo is second on the team in scoring (15.6) and rebounding (6.3), while Martin leads the club on the glass (7.7) and is third in scoring (12.9).
R.J. Cole leads UConn with 16.1 points per game, but was limited to 14 points on 6-of-17 shooting in 36 minutes against West Virginia. The Huskies succumbed to the Mountaineers’ signature full-court press and committed 16 turnovers.
“It was a good atmosphere,” Cole said. “A lot of guys are playing their first away game and they tested us of course, we just didn’t come out with enough to win.”
Said Hurley: “Tough loss. Hard-fought game. Real physical game and both teams played, I thought, incredibly hard. Obviously, really ugly, but based on both of our identities you knew it was going to be a low-scoring game. A real physical defensive struggle.”
St. Bonaventure has five players averaging double figures in scoring through its first nine games.
The Bonnies erased a three-point halftime deficit by outscoring the visiting Greyhounds 46-30 in the second half.
St. Bonaventure shot 60.0 percent from the floor, led by Jalen Adaway and Jaren Holmes, who each scored 22 points. The Bonnies played their second consecutive game without injured point guard Kyle Lofton, who leads the team in scoring (17.4) and assists (5.9).
Adaway, who averages 14.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, also has been a force inside for the Bonnies, along with Osun Osunniyi (10.2 points, 7.2 rebounds).
“These guys have done a good job without (Kyle Lofton) in there,” St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt said. “We’re a long way from a finished product.”
Holmes, who had nine assists against Loyola, is averaging 17.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game this season.
Wednesday’s 9-for-12 performance from the floor came on the heels of a disastrous effort versus Buffalo. He made just 3 of 17 shots versus the Bulls.
“We got to play a 40-minute game as we go forward,” Schmidt said. “There’s no more easy ones. They’re all going to be difficult, starting with UConn on Saturday.”
–Field Level Media