Wagner stuns No. 18 UConn men, 67-58, in Huskies’ first home opener loss in Storrs

The Wagner bench celebrates in the final seconds of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Connecticut, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
The Wagner bench celebrates in the final seconds of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Connecticut, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

STORRS, Conn. — Mike Aaman and Romone Saunders scored 15 points each to lead Wagner to a 67-58 upset of No. 18 UConn in the season opener for both teams on Friday night.

Corey Henson added 10 points for the Seahawks, who handed the Huskies their first loss in a home opener on campus. UConn came in 27-0 in such games.

Transfer Terry Larrier had 19 points and freshman Alterique Gilbert had 14 to lead the Huskies.

UConn trailed by three points at halftime and went more than 5 minutes without a basket to open the second half before Jalen Adams’ tip-in made it 41-37.

Wagner scored the next eight, pushing the lead to 49-37 on a 3-pointer by Saunders.

But Saunders landed awkwardly making a pass under the basket a short time later and had to be helped to the bench.

He didn’t return and UConn turned up the defensive pressure.

The Huskies went on a 12-0 run to tie the game, holding Wagner without a point for almost 7 minutes.

But Wagner responded, outscoring the Huskies 16-9 from there. Henson’s 3-pointer with just over 3 minutes to play started a 7-0 run that put the game out of reach.

BIG PICTURE

Wagner: The Seahawks never looked rattled or intimidated by UConn. Wagner has eight players back from a team that won the Northeast Conference regular season title and upset St. Bonaventure in the first round of the NIT.

UConn: UConn showed it has some work to do to mesh its highly talented freshmen class with its more experienced players. The Huskies shot just 35.7 percent from the field, 26.7 percent in the second half. The Huskies allowed nine 3-pointers and were often slow on the switches, leaving the experienced Seahawks with open jumpers.

POLL IMPLICATIONS:

UConn likely will fall out of the Top 25. The Huskies won’t have a chance to impress voters until they face Oklahoma State in Hawaii.

UP NEXT

Wagner: The Seahawks head to Massachusetts for a game on Monday against UMass-Lowell. Their home opener comes Nov. 19 against Fairfield.

UConn: The Huskies have another home game Monday against Northeastern before heading west. The Huskies will play in coach Kevin Ollie’s hometown of Los Angeles on Nov. 17 before heading to Hawaii and the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.

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