Huskies face Catamounts in home opener
Published: Monday, November 12, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 12, 2012 22:11
After defeating the then-No.14 Michigan State Spartans, 66-62, behind junior guard Shabazz Napier’s 25 points in a thrilling season opener at the Ramstein U.S. Air Force Base in Germany on Friday night, the No. 23 UConn Huskies men’s basketball will be looking to open the season with a second straight victory.
UConn will take on the University of Vermont Catamounts at Gampel Pavilion in the season’s home opener on Tuesday night. The game will be televised on SNY as well as streamed online on ESPN3 and also can be heard on WHUS 91.7 FM.
The last time the Huskies were ranked was on Jan. 23, 2012, when they were No. 24 in the nation. UConn entered the AP poll this week despite not receiving a single vote in this season’s preseason poll.
In Germany, UConn was up 16 points at one interval in the first half of the Armed Forces Classic, but Michigan State closed the gap to seven points at halftime. The Spartans took the lead, 58-56, with 5:34 to go in the game after Keith Appling converted an and-one. The Huskies fired right back, however, with a three-pointer from Napier and then another triple from sophomore guard Ryan Boatright with 3:21 remaining on the clock.
Spartan freshman guard Denzel Valentine made a lay-up with two minutes left to bring the score to 62-60, but a two-point margin was as close as Michigan State would get. Appling had a chance to tie the game with 24 seconds remaining, but was unable to hit a 10-footer with Boatright in his pocket. Napier knocked down four straight free throws to ice the game.
The win was Head Coach Kevin Ollie’s first career victory.
As for Tuesday, Vermont (1-0) won their first game of the young season on Friday at fellow former NCAA Tournament darling Siena, 54-53. Although America East Rookie of the Year and 2011-12 leading scorer Four McGlynn transferred from UVM to Towson this offseason, the Catamounts are still returning five players who received significant playing time last season. Vermont also added Marist transfer Candon Rusin, who made the MAAC all-rookie team in 2009-10 while leading the Red Foxes in scoring his freshman year.
UVM won the America East conference tournament and finished second overall in the America East standings in 2011-12. The Catamounts were pegged by America East coaches to repeat as conference champions this season.
The last time the two New England state schools met was two years ago during UConn’s most recent National Championship season. The Huskies beat the Catamounts at home, 89-73, behind Kemba Walker’s 42 points.