HARTFORD - Pulling oneâ€™s rear end out of the fire is a nice trick, but not one that anyone would like to repeat.
Still, the satisfaction of celebrating with a singed seat was quite evident on the faces of the UConn menâ€™s basketball players Tuesday.
The Huskies, thanks to the heroics of Jalen Adams, beat Stony Brook 72-64 Tuesday night at the XL Center, rallying from a nine-point deficit in the final five-and-a-half minutes.
â€śWe definitely wouldnâ€™t have won that game last year,â€ť said UConn coach Kevin Ollie, whose team scored 47 second-half points. â€śThis team right here just shows resilience, shows heart. We definitely donâ€™t want to be in those situations but to be in them early and show that we can come back and play UConn basketball, was a great feat for our guys.â€ť
UConn lost its first two home games a season ago, a shocking start to a sub-par season for the Huskies. It looked for a time Tuesday that Ollieâ€™s group would again suffer an early defeat at the hands of a mid-major.
UConn was in deep trouble with 5 minutes, 37 seconds left in the game after Stony Brookâ€™s Tyrell Sturdivant hit consecutive 3-pointers to put his team up 62-53.
But suddenly the Huskies scored 17 straight points - nine in a row by Adams alone - and the visitors from Long Island went more than five minutes without a point.
Adams, playing his first game of the season following a brief suspension, scored all 19 of his points in the second half. He also took over in the final minutes, something he felt he had to do.
â€śYeah, definitely. My teammates were kind of looking at me. They know Iâ€™m pretty good in the pick-and-rolls. They were telling me to do my thing and if I get in any trouble, they got my back,â€ť Adams said.
Alterique Gilbert added 14 points, Terry Larrier 12, and Antwoine Anderson 10 for UConn (2-0).
Stony Brook (0-2) took a six-point lead at halftime. The Seawolves held UConn to 35.7 percent shooting, forcing the Huskies into nine turnovers, and scored 11 points off those miscues.
Although its tendency to turn the ball over continued in the second half, UConn hit a scorching 71.4 percent of its shots after halftime to complete the comeback.
â€śJalen finally got his wake-up call in the second half,â€ť Ollie said. â€śHe was sensational getting to the basket.â€ť
In addition to Adams, the Huskies also welcomed center David Onuorah to the court for the first time this season. The 249-pound graduate transfer from Cornell made an impact, as well, picking up seven rebounds and setting at least as many punishing screens in 13 minutes of play before fouling out.
Larrier, coming off a career-best 27-point performance against Colgate, was whistled for two fouls in the gameâ€™s opening five minutes and spent the rest of the first half on the UConn bench.