STORRS, Conn. – The 2016-17 regular season is about to begin for the No. 18 UConn men’s basketball team, as it hosts Wagner on Friday night in the opening game at 7 p.m. (ET) in Gampel Pavilion.
The Huskies, defending American Athletic Conference champions, will compete against the Seahawks of the Northeast Conference – a game that will be televised on SNY. It can be listened to on the IMG Radio Network, including WTIC-Hartford (1080-AM).
Coming off exhibition wins against New Haven and Southern Connecticut State, UConn has gotten preseason work to prepare for Friday’s opener. 15 different players saw floor time in the two preseason games for the Huskies.
Senior guard Rodney Purvis averaged a team-best 14.5 points per game, while redshirt sophomore forward Terry Larrier averaged 13.5 points and 4.5 rebounds. Four Huskies averaged double-figure scoring in the two games.
The Huskies are coming off a 2015-16 campaign that saw them reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament, before a loss to top-ranked Kansas. Head coach Kevin Ollie will begin his fifth season at the helm for UConn.
Last year was UConn’s sixth consecutive 20-win season and earned the Huskies their 33rd appearance in the NCAA Tournament. It was the Huskies’ eighth postseason bid in the last nine years.
The key returns of Purvis, senior center Amida Brimah and sophomore guard Jalen Adams will play alongside five freshmen – six newcomers total – as the young, but talented, Huskies prepare for two home games in four days (Northeastern on Nov. 14 in Storrs).
UConn is 5-0 all-time against Wagner, beating the Seahawks most recently, 78-66, back on Nov. 14, 2011 in Gampel Pavilion.
Wagner is fresh off a strong season that resulted in a trip to the NIT, following a 23-11 (13-5 Northeast Conference) record in the regular season. The Seahawks lost to Fairleigh Dickinson in the Northeast Conference final – narrowly missing a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The Seahawks’ two top scorers, Corey Henson (13.3 ppg) and Michael Carey (12.6 ppg), both return this season.
In 2015-16, Wagner led the Northeast Conference in scoring defense, scoring margin, field goal percentage defense and rebounding.
BY THE NUMBERS
27: UConn has won 27 consecutive Gampel Pavilion openers, dating back to the building’s inception in January of 1990.
245: The Huskies have a 245-game streak with at least one three-pointer made, going back nearly seven years.
1952-53: The UConn-Wagner series dates back 64 years, though the two teams have only played five times. The Huskies won the first meeting, 64-61, on Feb. 9, 1953.