TAKEAWAY — Colgate’s Sean O’Brien, left, strips the ball from Connecticut’s Mamadou Diarra during Friday night’s game in Storrs, Conn. UConn won the season opener for both teams, 70-58. (AP Photo)
Colgate keeps it close vs. UConn
STORRS, Conn. (AP) — UConn swingman Terry Larrier hasn’t played much over the past two years, but didn’t show any rust on Friday night.
The 6-9 transfer from VCU scored a career-high 27 points and the Huskies opened the season with a 70-58 win over Colgate.
Larrier, coming off a knee injury that kept him out most of last season, hit 11 of his 18 shots, and was 3 of 4 from 3-point range.
“Sitting out those two years, I waited long,” Larrier said. “It was just all motivation to me. It fired me up. I got some easy baskets early and just continued to keep scoring.”
Point guard Antwoine Anderson, a graduate transfer from Fordham, added 12 points and six assists for the Huskies, who are coming off a disappointing 16-17 season.
Colgate’s Will Rayman had 14 of his 19 points in the first half, including a 3-pointer that sent the Raiders to intermission trailing the Huskies just 33-31.
UConn scored the first seven points after the break and a put-back dunk by freshman Isaiah Whaley put the Huskies up 51-37 midway through the second half. Colgate cut the lead to five, but Larrier scored seven straight down the stretch to put the game away.
The Huskies played just one person, Christian Vital, who saw significant minutes a year ago. They were without star guard Jalen Adams, who was suspended after being charged with a misdemeanor for leaving the scene of a scooter accident on Wednesday.
“I thought this was a test,” said UConn coach Kevin Ollie. “Without Jalen...to come out, get tested and respond the way they did, I’m really proud of our group.
The Huskies are already off to a better start than a year ago. UConn began the 2016-17 campaign with losses to Wagner and Northeastern and then lost Alterique Gilbert (shoulder) and Larrier (knee) for the season to injury during the next two games.
Colgate was not shy about launching the ball from behind the arc, going 8 of 29 from 3-point range. “Ultimately, we got the open shots we were looking to get, we just weren’t able to make enough of them,” said Colgate coach Matt Langel. “I do think we’re built that way. If the open 3 is available, we’re going to shoot it.”
Colgate returns all five starters from last season, their top five scorers and 13 players with game experience. Jordan Swopshire had 14 points for the Raiders.
Ollie describes Adams’ status with the team as day-to-day. Police say the 21-year-old junior was among four men who were racing their scooters on campus Wednesday night when the one Adams was operating hit the back of another. Police say Adams left the broken scooter at the scene and hopped on the back of one of the others.
No injuries were reported. Police say they located Adams, the other men and the three other scooters at a local business.
“I definitely take full responsibility,” Adams said. “We’re putting that behind us. I know I’ve got to learn from my mistakes and we’re just moving forward from here.”
Adams averaged more than 14 points a game for the Huskies last season.
Six of the Huskies’ eight new players saw action Friday. UConn is still waiting to hear whether Sidney Wilson, who transferred from St. John’s after taking a single summer school class, will be allowed to play this season. The 6-7, highly recruited wing is seeking an NCAA waiver rather than sit out a year as a transfer student.
David Onuorah a 6-9 graduate transfer from Cornell, remains sidelined with a preseason hip injury.
Colgate returns home to face Cornell next Thursday night.