Fresh off a huge season-opening win overseas, the 23rd-ranked Connecticut Huskies play their first home game of 2012-13 when they entertain the Vermont Catamounts on Tuesday night.
Vermont, which plays its basketball out of the America East Conference, claimed a 54-53 win at Siena in its season opener last Friday. The Catamounts won their fifth AEC title last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament where they won a First Four matchup against Lamar (71-59). UVM finished the year at 24-12 (13-3 AEC), thus logging its ninth 20-win campaign in the last 11 years.
Connecticut played its first game in more than a quarter century without Jim Calhoun on the bench last Friday at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, and the Huskies beat No. 14 Michigan State, 66-62. It was the first win for new coach Kevin Ollie. as he attempts to soften the blow of not only the loss of the legendary coach, but also several key contributors from last year's team that went 20-14, but finished just 8-10 in the ultra-competitive Big East Conference.
UConn owns a commanding 46-8 lead in the all-time series with Vermont, and the most recent meeting between the two occurred during the 2010-11 season with the Huskies prevailing in an 89-73 final.
Vermont spotted Siena a 15-2 lead to start last Friday's season opener in Albany, but the Catamounts weren't about to roll over and play dead as they used a 17-11 edge in points from the foul line while taking advantage of 17 turnovers by the Saints to squeak out a one-point victory. Luke Apfeld led UVM with 16 points despite missing nine of his 13 field goal attempts, while Sandro Carissimo joined him in double figures with 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting. As a team, the Catamounts hit just 32.7 percent of their total shots, but held Siena to 36.7 percent.
Shabazz Napier drained half of his 16 field goal attempts in netting a game- high 25 points, as his UConn squad outlasted Michigan State in Germany by six points. Despite being outrebounded by a 34-25 margin and outscored in second- chance points, 15-1, the Huskies won the game thanks to 46 percent shooting from the field while the Spartans were only successful on 40 percent of their total shots. In addition to Napier, Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels scored in double figures as well with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Daniels added eight rebounds to his stat line, but he was guilty of five of the team's 12 turnovers. UConn was 6-of-13 from three-point range, and converted 10-of-13 free-throw attempts.