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Radio: UConn/IMG Radio Network / WTIC 1080 AM
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Tickets: PK80 Invitational
PORTLAND, Ore. – Riding a three-game winning streak to start the season, the UConn men’s basketball team will be challenged when it participates in the Victory Bracket of the PK80 Invitational - a tournament honoring Nike co-founder Phil Knight’s 80th birthday.
In the first leg of the tournament, the Huskies (3-0) will take on Oregon (4-0) on Thanksgiving night in the Moda Center at 9 p.m. (ET). ESPNU will air the game and the UConn/IMG Radio Network will be on site calling the action.
Eight teams make up the Victory Bracket – Arkansas, DePaul, Michigan State, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Portland and UConn – and each is guaranteed to play three games over the weekend.
A victory on Thursday would put the Huskies in the winners bracket and put them against the winner of the Michigan State/DePaul game on Friday. Saturday is an off-day before the final game of the PK80 on Sunday. All game times and TV designations are to be determined.
Sophomore Christian Vital had a career-high 30 points in a dominant 85-66 win over Boston University on Sunday at the XL Center. For the Huskies, they have averaged 13-point margins of victory in their first three games (Colgate, Stony Brook, BU).
Redshirt junior Terry Larrier is averaging a team-high 16.7 points per game, while junior Jalen Adams is close behind with 15.5 points. Graduate student David Onuorah is averaging a team-best six rebounds in his first two games as a Husky.
It will be the second straight season that the Huskies have played the Ducks, after playing them in the final game of the Maui Invitational during 2016-17. Thursday’s game will mark the first time a UConn team has played in the state of Oregon.
SCOUTING PK80 INVITATIONAL
Five teams from the AP Top 25 will play in the PK80, including No. 1 Duke, No. 4 Michigan State, No. 7 Florida, No. 9 North Carolina and No. 17 Gonzaga. Eight of the 16 teams qualified for the 2017 NCAA Tournament, with reigning champion North Carolina leading the way.
Among all 16 programs, a total of 23 NCAA championships have been accumulated over the years – as well as 89 Final Four appearances. Three of the last four championship teams are playing in Oregon this weekend (UConn-2014, Duke-2015, UNC-2017).
EDGE ON THE GLASS
UConn has a +10.3 rebounding margin over opponents this season, with five players averaging at least five boards per game – including guards Jalen Adams and Alterique Gilbert. Most recently, the Huskies enjoyed a +20 advantage on the glass in a win over Boston University (52-32).
Vital scored 30 points on 9-of-15 shooting against the Terriers on Sunday, achieving the first 30-point game of the season for the Huskies. Only two players – Jalen Adams (34) and Rodney Purvis (30) – reached the mark during the 2016-17 season.
The Huskies are 4-5 in their last three Thanksgiving tournaments, including the Puerto Rico Tip-Off (2014), Battle 4 Atlantis (2015) and Maui Invitational (2016). Last season in Maui, UConn lost to Oklahoma State, beat Chaminade and fell to Oregon.
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