The Boston University Terriers men’s basketball team fell to the University of Connecticut Huskies 86-57 at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion on Friday night thanks to a dominant 27-point, 15-rebound performance from UConn junior forward Adama Sanogo, the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year.
The Huskies (2-0) jumped out to a massive 20-2 lead with just under 12 minutes left in the first half. Sanogo scored nine of the first 20 points for the home team, including a made three-pointer, the first in his collegiate career.
“(Sanogo’s) as good as any post player that we’ve faced,” head coach Joe Jones said. “Now that he can make some jumpers, it makes it even harder to guard.”
The Terriers (1-1) struggled from the field early in the first half, with their first field goal coming with 10:25 to play in the first half. Graduate student guard and forward Fletcher Tynen knocked down a jumper, ending a 0-10 start from the floor.
After their first made field goal, the Terriers outscored the Huskies through the rest of the first half. Going into the half, the Huskies had a commanding 40-23 lead, shooting 15-29 from the floor compared to BU’s 7-26.
Coming out of the break, both teams traded baskets, each making their first two shots of the half. The Terriers seemed to find a bit of a groove early in the second half, as they cut the Huskies’ lead to 12 with just over 13 minutes left in regulation.
Graduate student guard Walter Whyte started getting downhill and driving to the rim more, leading to made shots along with opportunities at the free-throw line.
“He did a good job of getting to the basket and scoring at the basket,” Jones said.
Whyte led the Terriers in scoring with 19 points, shooting 6-11 from the field and 7-9 from the free-throw line. However, Whyte only had 3 rebounds in the contest, which was an overarching problem for BU.
“In a game like this, there’s no way we can win with Walt having three rebounds,” Jones said. “Our defensive effort and our rebounding effort really wasn’t in a position where we could win.”
UConn’s sheer size down low was too much for BU to handle. The Terriers allowed 11 offensive rebounds and were ultimately outrebounded 41-29.
Behind Sanogo is the 7’2” freshman center Donovan Clingan. He added 10 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks to go along with Sanogo’s dominance. The presence of the two big men down low allowed the Huskies to get open looks from behind the arc, where they shot 10-21.
Jones was most critical of his team when it came to handling adversity.
“I wasn’t really pleased with our energy and fortitude today. That was probably the thing I was most upset about,” Jones said. “They took the wind out of us, and we never recovered … I just wasn’t pleased with our ability to play through mistakes.”
Looking forward, Jones says that the Terriers need more from the veterans when it comes to leading the team.
“We have to be able to get better leadership in terms of not just by their play, by what they’re saying,” Jones said.
The Terriers will have an opportunity to bounce back against Johnson & Wales University on Monday at Case Gym.