Hurley encouraged by effort from UConn men's basketball over last two games

Published on Tuesday, 14 January 2020 21:09
Written by NEILL OSTROUT

JOURNAL INQUIRER

Dan Hurley has liked what he’s seen from his UConn men’s basketball team in the last two games. He only wished one of those efforts had resulted in a different outcome.

“I feel like the last two games we played a lot more to the identity that we started the season with. We lost our way for a week on the road,” Hurley said after an 89-86 double overtime loss to No. 23 Wichita State Sunday.

UConn (10-6) plays its second straight ranked opponent when it travels to Philadelphia Saturday for a game against No. 14 Villanova.

The Shockers moved up to No. 16 in the Associated Press rankings released Monday (poll on Scoreboard, Page 39).

The Huskies trailed by nine with 61 seconds left in regulation against Wichita State So what enabled UConn to score those nine unanswered points?

Some would say intense full-court pressure and timely shooting, but Hurley had a different response.

“Identity. The summer work. The preseason work. How hard we practice. These guys becoming better competitors, becoming more determined. Better leadership from Christian (Vital) and Alterique (Gilbert). Not giving in. Continuing to compete and scratch and claw,” Hurley said.

Vital makes list

UConn guard Christian Vital was named on Monday to the American Athletic Conference’s weekly honor roll. The senior averaged 19.5 points and 6.5 rebounds as the Huskies split a pair of games. He had a game-high 25 points in Sunday’s loss to Wichita State.

It’s the fourth time this season Vital has been so honored.

Vital is currently No. 21 on UConn’s all-time scoring list with 1,456 career points.

East Carolina forward Jayden Gardner was the league’s player of the week. The Pirates’ sophomore averaged 21.5 points and 9.5 rebounds as his team knocked off South Florida and SMU.

Memphis center Precious Achiuwa won the league’s freshman of the week award for the second straight time. He has recorded five straight double-doubles for the Tigers.

Recruit Omoruyi narrows list

Standout New Jersey big man Cliff Omoruyi has narrowed his list of potential colleges to five. The list, which he revealed on social media Monday, includes UConn.

A 6-foot-11 standout at Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, Omoruyi is also considering Kentucky, Auburn, Rutgers and Arizona State.

He eliminated Memphis, Miami, and N.C. State from his previous list.

Omoruyi is ranked as the 48th-best player in the Class of 2020, according to 247sports.

UConn has already signed two players in the Class of 2020: 6-foot-6 wing Andre Jackson from Albany, New York, and 6-11 center Javonte Brown-Ferguson from Thornhill, Ontario.



Posted in New Britain Herald, UConn on Tuesday, 14 January 2020 21:09. Updated: Tuesday, 14 January 2020 21:11.