UConn Meets Iowa State for PKI Championship

UConn Athletic Communications / November 27, 2022

game notes

PORTLAND, Ore. — The UConn men’s basketball team traveled to the West Coast for the challenge of a competitive upgrade when they played the Phil Knight Invitational with seven other strong teams, all representing the Nike brand.

With one day left in tournament play, it’s safe to say that the #20/22 Huskies were more than prepared.

After victories over Oregon and No. 18 Alabama in the first two days of the tournament, UConn (7-0) finds itself in the PKI championship game and meets Iowa State (5-0) Sunday night at the Moda Center (10 p.m. PT). ESPN).

UConn had its best start since 2013-14, notching decisive victories over Oregon (83-59) and Alabama (82-67) and now meets an Iowa State side who have Villanova in overtime (81-79) and ranked 1st 1 downed North Carolina (70-65). The Cyclones play differently than any other team in the tournament.

“I think you see it in the tournament, you saw it with Carolina,” Coach said Dan Hurley said. “It’s a unique defensive style – the amount of attacks they’re trying to take it’s rare you see something like that. Where they try to send the basketball… but more than that, their physicality. It’s such a different style than our first two games out here in terms of the way they play. Much more physical. They have a really strong team.”

Iowa State, out of the Big 12, is led by point guard Jaren Holmes, a transfer from St. Bonaventure, who averages 17.8 points and 4.4 assists per game. Joining Holmes in the backcourt is senior Caleb Grill, who burned North Carolina with 31 points, and freshman Tamin Lipsey.

Leading the way is another transfer from St. Bonaventure, 6-10 senior Osun Osunniyi, and 6-8 senior Jaz Kunc, a transfer from Washington State.

“They’re playing at one of the best conferences in the country,” Hurley said. “They had a great season last year, the Sweet 16. It’s in their bones, in their culture, that they’re expected to win. They defend, they recover. That is a formula for victory.”

UConn also found a pretty effective formula that averages 85.9 points per game and only allows opponents 58.7. The Huskies shoot nearly a .500 (.496) overall and .385 from three-point range. They are outrebound opponents with 9.2 rebounds per game.

UConn junior Adama Sanogo bounced back from a mediocre game against Oregon with a 25-point performance against Alabama and still leads the team in goals (20.6) and rebounds (7.1). Sophomore Jordan Hawkins (13.0), senior Tristen Newton (12.6) and redshirt newcomer Alex Karaban (10.4) also average in double digits. Newton is the team leader in assists (4.9) and freshman Donovan Clingan is the leader in blocked shots (2.6).

UConn depth was evident in the first seven games, with eight players averaging at least 7.0 points per game and no player averaging 28.0 minutes per game.

Tonight’s game is the second time under Hurley that the Huskies have a chance to win an MTE event. In 2018-19 they reached the finals of the Empire Classic in New York before bowing to Iowa in the championship game.