HARTFORD - Coming off a somewhat shockingly poor performance in Dallas, UConn menâ€™s basketball coach Dan Hurley promised some changes when the Huskies played Cincinnati Sunday. And he delivered with a pair of changes in the starting lineup, benching junior Christian Vital and freshman Sidney Wilson to start the game.
Vital had started in each of the Huskiesâ€™ previous 45 games, the longest active streak on the team.
â€śIt was a combination of sending a message to players in the program. It was a variety of reasons why different people didnâ€™t start the game,â€ť Hurley said. â€śIt was a combination of me not wanting them in there as well as violating the conduct you need to, the manner which you need to carry yourself as a member of my program.â€ť
Freshman Brendan Adams and senior Eric Cobb started in place of Vital and Wilson. Adams was scoreless in nine minutes of play while Cobb played well early and finished with nine points.
â€śEric gave us a great lift there in the first half when we were dying to score,â€ť Hurley said. â€śE-Cobb got in there and was good for us offensively. Did a nice job on the offensive glass. Was looking at a double-figure game if he could have made some free throws there.â€ť
As for the changes themselves, Hurley didnâ€™t go into much detail other than to reaffirm his desire to fix the way the program operates.
â€śThatâ€™s culture, thatâ€™s character, all the things we need to develop here besides just increasing the talent and getting older and better,â€ť Hurley said. â€śOur character and culture is something that needs great improvement.â€ť
It might not have been as boisterous as some games in 1999 but the crowd at the XL Center Sunday was certainly loud nonetheless. The 11,904 fans who came to the game tried their best to spur on the Huskies.
â€śThey certainly willed us there in the second half when we were on the ropes,â€ť Hurley said.
Even Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin commented on the fans.
â€śGreat fans. Most teams you play that are 13-12 donâ€™t have that kind of crowd in late February,â€ť Cronin said. â€śThe crowd was awesome. The crowd was like they were playing for the league championship.â€ť