Sanogo puts on a show in UConn's dominating win over Boston University

Nov. 12—STORRS — Last year at this time, three of UConn's starters on Friday were playing for another college basketball program and unfamiliar with coach Dan Hurley's demanding style of play.

A fourth starter sat on the bench last season while redshirting.

The shorthanded Huskies had no choice but to go with a revamped rotation due to injuries to starters Samson Johnson, Andre Jackson and Jordan Hawkins who were sidelined for the game against Boston University.

They found a way to survive while playing with a thin bench, posting an 86-57 victory at Gampel Pavilion. An aggressive defense limited the Terriers to an icy 34 percent from the field.

"Thrilled with the way we played," Hurley said. "We knew we had to play elite defense. We were without a lot of firepower and a lot of talent."

For the second straight game, junior Adama Sanogo carried the Huskies (2-0), finishing with game highs in points (27) and rebounds (15) while converting 12 for 15 from the field.

Already an inside force, Sanogo gave future opponents another thing to worry about by burying the first two 3-pointers of his career. He was the only player available for the Huskies who saw regular action last season.

"Going into the game, I knew I had to be there for my team," Sanogo said.

The Huskies hope to be healthier by the time Tuesday's game against Buffalo in Hartford rolls around. Both Jackson (broken pinky finger) and Hawkins (concussion protocol) could return next week.

There's some concern that Johnson might not be back for at least a few weeks, according to Hurley.

"This is why we went out and got some guys in the portal that were older and veterans and that could defend for us and be solid and help us get through times like this," Hurley said.

Transfers Tristen Newton (East Carolina), Nahiem Alleyne (Virginia Tech) and Hassan Diarra (Texas A&M) started as well as redshirt freshman Alex Karaban and Sanogo.

Karaban scored in double figures for the second straight game, contributing 10 points, and Alleyne and Newton each had 11 points. Freshman reserve Donovan Clingan added 10 points and seven rebounds.

Walter Whyte, who's from New Haven, led the Terriers with 19 points.

"Great respect for Connecticut," BU coach Joe Jones said. "They had a ton of guys out and they did a great job. They played with great force and energy."

The Huskies took charge from the start, building a quick double digit lead behind Sanogo who scored 11 of his team's first 22 points.

"If Adama doesn't play a game like that, especially to start, it's a much different type of game," Hurley said. "He played like an All-American. And that's what we're going to need from him."

Hurley has encouraged Sanogo to take some 3-pointers this season.

Sanogo followed orders, burying the first one of his career with about 12 minutes left in the first half for a 20-2 lead. He missed one earlier in the game and took only one from beyond the arc in his previous two seasons.

"He encouraged me every day in practice to shoot it," Sanogo said of Hurley. "And that's something I want to do, so I worked on it all summer."

When the Terriers (1-1) closed the gap to 35-23 late in the first half, Sanogo extended the lead to 40-23 at intermission by scoring in the lane and sinking his second 3-pointer.

BU struggled mightily on the offensive end, missing its first 10 field goal attempts before breaking the drought at the 10:25 mark.

The Huskies received a little boost from an unlikely source. Richie Springs, a redshirt junior with only 15 career points, made a rare appearance off the bench and chipped in five points — one shy of tying his career high — before the break. He played a career-high 10 minutes.

They maintained a comfortable lead in the second half. Alleyne scored five straight points to hand UConn its biggest lead thus far at 47-27, forcing BU to call a timeout at the 17:49 mark.

The Terriers never got closer than 12 points the rest of the way.

UConn's newcomers plan to continue to do their part to help the team win while their injured teammates heal.

"We have to step up big-time," said Karaban, who celebrated his birthday Friday. "Those three players are going to be super important for us in the future. We've got to step up faster. Especially me and Donovan, we can't play like freshmen when those three players are out."

g.keefe@theday.com