Adama Sanogo, No. 23 UConn take on struggling LIU

NCAA Basketball

Adama Sanogo will look to continue his sterling start to the season on Wednesday evening when 23rd-ranked UConn hosts Long Island University in Storrs, Conn.

Sanogo received Big East honor-roll recognition Monday after scoring a career-high-tying 20 points in both the Huskies’ 99-48 win over Central Connecticut State on Nov. 9 and 89-54 win over Coppin State four days later.

He made 19 of 24 shots from the floor while totaling 14 rebounds and three blocks to spark the hot start.

“Most of our mentality is, when in doubt, just give Adama the ball at this point,” Tyrese Martin said. “He’s scoring at a high clip, so we’re going to keep giving it to him.”

Production aside, Sanogo acknowledged he has plenty of work to do in order to improve his game.

“I’m not going to say it’s easy to score,” he said. “There (were) some times I was supposed to kick it out, but I didn’t, so I have to do better doing that.”

Coach Dan Hurley is seeking balance this season after last year’s club became extremely dependent upon James Bouknight, who was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 11th overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft.

Thus far, the Huskies have seen five players score in double figures in both games this season.

“I know it literally looks like we can just throw it to Sanogo every time and score,” Hurley said. “The guy is a problem, but you have to have balance, we need to get R.J. (Cole) and Tyrese, we have to run things for them to get them going in a game, because teams are going to adjust. And run things for Tyler (Polley); you’ve got to have Akok (Akok) and Isaiah (Whaley) get into things.”

Jalen Gaffney came off the bench and had 11 points and eight assists against Coppin State. He started four of the 23 games he played in last season.

“It’s definitely a positive vibe. That’s kind of my role right now, to bring energy off the bench,” Gaffney said. “Just be somebody that attacks, gets people open for shots, and just play freely, honestly.”

While the Huskies have coasted to convincing victories, the Sharks (0-2) have two lopsided losses. Long Island opened its season with a 98-64 shellacking at San Francisco on Nov. 9 before dropping an 84-60 decision to Fresno State three nights later.

Ty Flowers made 10 of 20 shots from the floor — including six 3-pointers — en route to finishing with 26 points against the Bulldogs. Flowers averaged team-best totals in points (17.3) and assists (3.6) last season.

Fellow Preseason All-Northeast Conference pick Eral Penn sank four shots from beyond the arc to highlight his 15-point performance vs. the Bulldogs.

Penn, who had a team-leading 18 points vs. the Dons, averaged a team-best 10.4 rebounds in 2020-21.

Kyndall Davis has contributed an average of 10.5 points and 2.5 steals this season.

–Field Level Media

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.