Adama Sanogo has UConn dreaming large: ‘We can do one thing particular’

When UConn’s Adama Sanogo speaks, others pay attention.

With the Huskies trailing Iona 39-37 at halftime of Friday’s NCAA Tournament opener, Sanogo, who stands at 6-foot-9, 245 kilos and is likely one of the most bodily imposing large males within the nation, shared a message along with his teammates earlier than taking the courtroom within the second half.

“We looked at each other and said ‘we have to figure this out because we’re not playing the way UConn plays,’” Sanogo advised FOX Sports faculty basketball reporter John Fanta. “We knew we had to do something positive that could win the game for us.”

The Huskies large man did simply that, delivering 22 second-half factors and including 10 boards after the break as UConn kicked issues into excessive gear and ran away with a powerful 87-63 victory over the Gales. Sanogo completed with 28 factors and 13 rebounds, main the Huskies to the second spherical of the NCAA Tournament for the primary time since 2016.

It had been an extended drought for one of the profitable applications in faculty basketball. The Huskies have been to 5 Final Fours over the previous 24 years and gained all of it in 4 of these years: 1999, 2004, 2011 and 2014.

Dan Hurley was employed at UConn in 2018 and has labored to carry this system again to nationwide prominence, making three straight NCAA Tournament appearances following a four-year drought from 2017-2020.

Sanogo, who’s in his junior season, is likely one of the veteran leaders on this 12 months’s group, and he is been round lengthy sufficient to know the significance of profitable at a program like UConn. That made Friday’s opening-round victory over Iona that rather more pleasurable.

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“It feels great. People care about this team so much, and they want to see us do good,” Sanogo advised Fanta. “Just after the game, to get [the monkey] off our back, it was good.”

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It definitely helps that the Huskies are enjoying at MVP Arena in Albany, New York, situated lower than 150 miles away from UConn’s campus. Plenty of followers made the quick journey to help the Huskies, which turned evident through the group’s dominant second half efficiency.

“It felt like a home game for us,” Sanogo stated. “That’s one thing we’re definitely gonna need. It’s something that’s gonna help us win.”

The Huskies’ subsequent take a look at shall be in opposition to a gifted Saint Mary’s group that gained 27 video games this season and is coming off a powerful 63-51 opening-round victory over VCU.

Sanogo is aware of that to ensure that the Huskies to get previous Saint Mary’s and go on a run on this 12 months’s match, they’re going to must play the way in which they did in opposition to Iona within the second half on Friday.

“We can definitely do something special in this tournament,” Sanogo stated. “We have everything we need, and I think we have the best coaching staff in the country. But we have to stick to our identity.

“If we are able to play the way in which we did, we’re gonna be an issue for lots of groups on this match.”

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