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

When UConn’s Adama Sanogo speaks, others hear.

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 huge males within the nation, shared a message together with his teammates earlier than taking the court docket 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 huge 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 formidable 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 probably the most profitable packages 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 convey 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 workforce, and he is been round lengthy sufficient to know the significance of successful at a program like UConn. That made Friday’s opening-round victory over Iona that rather more gratifying.

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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.”

[UConn keeps Big East looking strong in March Madness]

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

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

The Huskies’ subsequent check might be towards a proficient Saint Mary’s workforce that gained 27 video games this season and is coming off a formidable 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 event, they’re going to should play the way in which they did towards Iona within the second half on Friday.

“We can definitely do something special in this tournament,” Sanogo mentioned. “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 event.”

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