Cole promises fans he'll do better in next game for UConn men's basketball after missed free throws

Published on Tuesday, 22 December 2020 19:02
Written by NEILL OSTROUT

JOURNAL INQUIRER

UConn guard R.J. Cole had a difficult end to his game Sunday afternoon. And although few Husky fans would hold him to such a pledge, Cole said via social media that he owes the fans one.

Cole missed two free throws with 11.2 seconds to play and his team leading by two points in what became a 76-74 overtime loss to Creighton.

Cole had been 10-for-10 from the line this season before those misses.

Late on Sunday, Cole posted a message on Twitter about the game.

“UConn Nation, earlier today was a tough loss. I missed two HUGE free throws, but as the point guard and one of the leaders of the team I’d put myself in that position every time because that’s who I am and I have the up most (sic) confidence in myself and my abilities. I owe y’all one,” Cole wrote.

Many fans responded to the post with votes of confidence in the junior transfer from Howard, as did one of his coaches.

“Accountability right there,” UConn assistant coach Tom Moore Tweeted in response. “Rare these days. Proud to coach you.”

Creighton’s Damien Jefferson then hit a short jumper with 0.2 seconds left to force overtime following Cole’s misses.

Cole finished the game 2-for-13 from the field, including 2-for-8 from behind the 3-point line, though he did make a big 3-pointer late in the game.

He also played 40 minutes and spent much of the game effectively defending star Creighton guard Marcus Zegarowski. Zegarowski, the Big East’s preseason player of the year, was 4-for-14 from the field and scored 11 points.

“He hasn’t played in a while. He obviously had the sit-out year. He’s had the COVID season, too, so he hasn’t had a lot of games to play to get himself in some type of a rhythm,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “Give the guy some time.”

Cole is averaging 11.3 points per game, the second-best mark on the team.

BOUKNIGHT HONORED

UConn guard James Bouknight was honored by the Big East Conference Monday for his play over the weekend, but he was perhaps snubbed a bit.

Bouknight earned a spot on the league’s weekly honor roll, but did not garner enough support to be the top player.

Xavier’s Paul Scruggs was the league’s player of the week. He had 29 points and six assists in Xavier’s buzzer-beating, 91-88 win over Marquette Sunday.

Bouknight scored 40 points in UConn’s 76-74 overtime loss to then-No. 9 Creighton Sunday afternoon.

His point total equaled the most-ever scored in Gampel Pavilion and was two short of Donyell Marshall’s UConn record for points in a Big East game.

The 40 points were also one shy of the record for most points by a player in their Big East debut.

The 6-foot-5 sophomore from Brooklyn leads the league, and is tied for fifth nationally, in scoring at 24.0 points per game.

UConn (3-1, 0-1 Big East), originally slated to play DePaul in Chicago Wednesday night, did not have any games scheduled this week as of this morning, though the Huskies are likely to add a game before returning to conference play Dec. 30.

NOTES

Sidney Wilson, the UConn forward who transferred to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in the offseason, was named Ohio Valley Conference Newcomer of the week on Monday. Wilson had a game-high 18 points while adding nine rebounds and five assists in the Cougars’ win over Morehead State. … UConn did not receive any votes in the Associated Press’ weekly poll this week. The Huskies had been among those teams also receiving votes since the season began.



Posted in New Britain Herald, UConn on Tuesday, 22 December 2020 19:02. Updated: Tuesday, 22 December 2020 19:04.