— The No. 2/2 University of Connecticut men’s basketball team lost its first game of the season on Monday night, 74-63, to No. 12/9 Georgetown at the XL Center in front of a crowd of 16,294.
Senior A.J. Price (Amityville, N.Y.) reached double figures for the sixth time this season with a team-best 16 points. Price also grabbed five rebounds and dished out a pair of assists. Classmate Jeff Adrien (Brookline, Mass.) scored 15 points for his 69th career game in double digits. Freshman Kemba Walker (Bronx, N.Y.) contributed 14 points off the bench for the Huskies.
The Hoyas shot 47.2 percent from the floor and made 72.7 percent of their shots from the free-throw line en route to the 11-point victory. Georgetown (10-1, 1-0) converted 17 Husky turnovers into 26 points while committing 14 of its own in the game. DaJuan Summers led the visitors with 18 points, making 6-of-7 shots from the charity stripe.
UConn used a 10-1 run to cut its halftime deficit of 39-27 to just three points (40-37) in the first five minutes of the second stanza. Junior Jerome Dyson (Rockville, Md.), Price and Adrien each contributed a basket in the run.
A pair of free throws by junior Stanley Robinson (Birmingham, Ala.) brought the Huskies to within three points again with 13:40 remaining in regulation. Robinson finished the night with four points and five boards.
Each team continued to trade baskets while Georgetown held on to its slim single-digit lead until UConn fell silent and the Hoyas extended their lead to 56-45 at 9:46, scoring seven answered points.
Georgetown made its last 18 free-throw attempts in the game, shooting 94.7 percent from the charity stripe in the second half. UConn found its stride on the line making four of its final five attempts in the game. Adrien and Price each sank a pair in the final six and half minutes of play.
UConn resumes BIG EAST play when it hosts Rutgers on Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. Fans unable to attend will be able to follow the action on MyTV9 and SNY.
Post Game Quotes
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I want to congratulate Coach Thompson for coming in here and giving us a lesson on how to play basketball with enthusiasm, execution and energy. We got beat by a solid 20 points. I really want to thank our fans for trying to help bring it back into a game – they seemed to want it more than we did.
There are a lot of things I thought could happen tonight. What did happen I never could or would have expected….Of all the things that could have happened tonight, I didn’t expect that we would play just as poorly as we did. Conversely, Georgetown took full advantage of every mistake we made and did a wonderful job. They were well-prepared and really executed exceptionally well.
We looked like we had never seen a match-up zone before. We have played against nothing but match-up zones.
We had a tremendous size advantage. One of our disadvantages tonight was our size.
The officiating was difficult at times, but if guys are going to the hole that many times, you’re going to have problems. Whether you like every call or don’t like every call, it’s not important. People getting into the lane are going to give you difficult situations.
We had no help from our big guys on hedges, and our guards got beat like a drum on the outside.
Georgetown did a great job executing, although I thought, at times, it was very easy.
Did you feel OK when the game got close
I did for a little bit until I looked at the body language of a couple of the big-time players on the team.
I hated our body language early. For fleeting moments, liked it. And detested it in the last eight minutes. With eight minutes to go we were down, like, 12, and I didn’t like looking at my team. It’s the first time all year I can tell you that.
It was just a very, very poor performance for us – opening BIG EAST game, sold-out crowd, electricity in the gym, and for us to perform like that….I apologize. I just don’t know how we could play that poorly.
Everyday we face a new challenge. Today they got us. We’re just looking forward to the next game.
On guarding Monroe: It’s a team defense. We go out there and play as a team. It’s not me doing the whole job.
We’ve got Rutgers next, and it’s not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination.
On the best response to a loss: We just have to play as hard as we can. We lost this one. By no stretch of the imagination did we think we were going to go undefeated. All we do can do is bounce back
I felt (the lack of energy). We just weren’t as hungry as we normally are.
On the physical aspect of the game: I feel like I’m always battling 3 people every night, so I thought it was just a normal, another physical game where we need to find a way to get open, get rebounds, and score.
On Georgetown’s defense: We couldn’t score, they had us well scouted. I give a lot of credit to Georgetown.
On the team being a step behind: I don’t think we were on the same level as far as playing together. It is something we will need to work on.
On not having the right energy at the start: It is mental. At the start both teams couldn’t make shots, then after a while Georgetown came out and started to exploded. They started to make a lot of shots and we couldn’t stop them.
On from where to go from here: We are definitely going to rebound, we were in the locker room after the game with the team and everyone told each other to keep their heads up. This game is history now. We are going to come out on Saturday and take it to Rutgers.
On Greg Monroe
I am very impressed with Greg Monroe. I always knew Greg was good, but with him being a freshman like me, I didn’t think he’d come out and explode like that, but today he definitely came out and played very well.
We came out ready to play….I told our guys “They make runs.” And when they made a run, we were able to stay composed, get back together and then regroup.
We’ve started a lot of games pretty well this year. This team has come out focused from the beginning.
I was worried because we were making so many shots. They weren’t able to get out in transition – I shouldn’t say I was worried about that, but sooner or later we’re going to start missing and then they’re going to get their transition going. I was worried that our guys would forget that transition defense was key. At one time I said “Well, forget it. Keep scoring and we won’t have to worry about it.”
It was a group effort. We wanted to make sure everyone knew where he was, knew what they were trying to accomplish. He just had one of those days. Our post players worked pretty hard, and our perimeter players did a great job of helping on the weak side and trying to clog things up. It was just one of those days for him.
I’m confident with the people we put in the game, and these guys are confident in each other.
The Commissioner is not handing out any trophies after tonight, and we have a long difficult road ahead of us. It doesn’t get any easier. You can’t sit and dwell on this and enjoy this too much, because we have Pitt sitting there on Saturday.