STORRS – Setting the scene at Gampel Pavilion, where UConn plays Southern in the first exhibition game of the season:
Don’t know how the crowd will be tonight, I hear there is a baseball game on somewhere.
Actually, because of the Red Sox’s World Series game, this game is on WTIC FM 96.5. You’ll be able to find it there.
The SCSU arrived at Gampel and the players, most of whom are from Connecticut, began touring the facility. “They’re in heaven right now,” coach Mike Donnelly said, as he walked by press row.
Southern Connecticut (full disclosure: it’s my alma mater) used to play major Division I schools back in the day. My senior year, 1984, the Owls played Georgetown (and Patrick Ewing) in the Cap Centre and also played Bridgeport (and Manute Bol) twice during the regular season.
The Owls starting lineup tonight includes Greg Langston (Stratford), Tylon Smith (Manchester), Lucas Van Nes (Hamden), Stefon Williams (Kent School) and Luke Houston, from Pearl River, N.Y. Two SCSU players are not active, Jack McCarthy and Deshawn Murphy (violation of team rules).
DeAndre Daniels, in his soft-spoken way, admitted yesterday that being left off Top 100 lists and the American Athletic Conference preseason teams, did “bother him a little.” Kevin Ollie said he looks for Daniels to show body language that says “he’s the best player in the gym” when he walks in.
That’s what started to become noticeable late last year as Daniels broke through, and it seems to have carried through the summer.
Ollie carried through on his promise to start upper classmen for this game. Niels Giffey is in the lineup, with seniors Shabazz Napier and Tyler Olander, and juniors Ryan Boatright and Daniels.
There will be a moment of silence for Wes Bialosuknia before the game.