No. 24 UConn will be searching for consistency and a season sweep in Saturday’s Big East Conference road game against last-place Georgetown in Washington, D.C.
Throughout their nonconference schedule and the infant stages of league play, the Huskies (17-6, 6-6) relied on a blend of efficient scoring and formidable defense to start 14-0 and climb as high as No. 2 in the rankings.
UConn averaged 82.9 points per game over its undefeated run and allowed more than 70 points just once in that span — an 84-73 home win against the Hoyas (6-17, 1-11) on Dec. 20.
But the crisp performances that vaulted the Huskies to their highest Top 25 ranking since 2009 have been scarce for the past month and UConn hasn’t won consecutive games since late December.
The Huskies have won two of their past three, most recently a 90-76 triumph at DePaul on Tuesday.
Jordan Hawkins (26 points), Adama Sanogo (25) and Tristen Newton (21) spearheaded a UConn attack that bullied the Blue Demons for 42 points in the paint and a 38-25 rebounding edge.
“We’re confident that we can get back to winning because of our culture and the pedigree of our players, the type of players we get,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “They didn’t come here on a transaction. They came here to be part of their transformation.”
But while a date with lowly Georgetown seemingly puts them in a favorable position to push their conference record above .500, the Huskies may need a similar offensive showcase to win a game featuring the conference’s top three scorers entering play Thursday.
Sanogo and Hawkins rank first and third in the league with 17.3 and 16.6 points per game, respectively, while the Hoyas’ Primo Spears averages 16.8 points per contest.
Spears had his streak of three-straight 20-point games snapped in Georgetown’s 63-53 home loss to Creighton on Wednesday. He was shut out in the first half and produced just 10 points on 5-for-18 shooting as the Hoyas lost their second game in a row after beating DePaul last week to snap a 10-game losing streak.
Georgetown’s second-leading scorer, Brandon Murray, didn’t provide much of a boost either. He, too, went scoreless in the first half and trudged to an 11-point night on 4-for-14 shooting.
“When we have (Murray and Spears) not scoring the way that they have been scoring for us, it’s hard for us to win,” Hoyas coach Patrick Ewing said. “We did a good job defensively, but … offensively we took a step back.”
Georgetown may have their third-best scorer available against the Huskies as Jay Heath returned to the court Wednesday for the first time since undergoing surgery for a hand injury he suffered against DePaul on Dec. 29. He finished with seven points in 19 minutes off the bench.
The Hoyas nearly spoiled the then-No. 2 Huskies’ 12-0 record in the teams’ first meeting this season on Dec. 20 in Connecticut.
Georgetown led 60-53 with under 12 minutes remaining — the first time all season UConn had trailed in the second half — but Joey Calcaterra scored all 14 of his points off the bench down the stretch as the Huskies rallied to extend their undefeated start.
–Field Level Media