Men’s basketball (1-2, 0-0 MAC) fell to No. 25-ranked Connecticut (3-0), 84-64, at the XL Center in Hartford on Tuesday night.
The Bulls were coming off a brutal 35-point loss against James Madison (3-0) on Nov. 12. UB turned the ball over 30 times in that game, resulting in 33 JMU points.
The Bulls’ turnover issue (averaging over 20 per game) is likely a symptom of youth and inexperience. UB lost its top five scorers from last season, including former program staples Jeenathan Williams and Ronaldo Segu. This year’s roster features nine new players, including six transfers.
UB kept the game competitive for the first 10 minutes against the Huskies. The Bulls came back from a 7-0 deficit to take a 14-13 lead by the nine-minute mark. D-II transfer and senior Armoni Foster catalyzed the Bulls’ offense by getting to the rim and drawing contact. The dynamic guard, who was a finalist for D-II Player of the Year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania last season, led UB with 11 points on Tuesday.
The one-point lead was UB’s last. Turnovers finally caught up to the Bulls, committing 18 which resulted in 21 UConn points.
Back-to-back steals by UConn senior guard Tristen Newton resulted in two quick buckets for the Huskies, the second of which was an emphatic dunk. UConn took a 33-22 lead, its biggest at the time, forcing UB to call a timeout with three minutes to go in the first half.
Newton finished with a 22-point, 11-assist, 10-rebound triple-double to lead the Huskies.
In the first half, UConn scored 16 points off 12 UB turnovers. The Huskies led 44-28 at halftime, riding a 31-14 scoring run to close the first period.
The second half featured more of the same, as the Bulls struggled to contain UConn’s dynamic offense, which scored 40 points in the second half.
UB was only outscored by four points in the second half, but the Huskies were able to ride their first-half lead to victory.
UB’s interior defense was unable to stop UConn’s size. Seven-foot-tall freshman Donovan Clingan and Big East Preseason Player of the Year Adama Sanogo each scored 11 points.
UConn out-rebounded UB 42-29 and captured 14 offensive boards. The Huskies added six three-pointers and went to the free-throw line 28 times — more than doubling UB’s 13 free-throw attempts.
In addition to turnovers, UB struggled to stay out of foul trouble. The Bulls’ 23 personal fouls were 10 more than UConn’s. Sophomore guard Curtis Jones was forced to sit multiple times with foul trouble.
After dropping their second straight game, the Bulls will head to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands to take on Drake (3-0) at the Paradise Jam this Friday. The game can be streamed on ESPN3.
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Ryan Tantalo is the managing editor of The Spectrum. He previously served as senior sports editor. Outside of the newsroom, Ryan spends his time announcing college hockey games, golfing, skiing and reading.