R.J. Cole and No. 17 UConn will look to establish a new winning streak when they host Maryland-Eastern Shore in a nonconference matchup on Tuesday night in Hartford, Conn.
Cole led all scorers with 26 points in the Huskies' 70-63 overtime win against VCU in their Battle 4 Atlantis finale on Friday. It was a bounce-back performance for UConn (6-1), which suffered its first loss of the season in a 64-60 setback against Michigan State in the same tournament last Thursday.
It was the Huskies' second overtime game in their last three outings after topping then-No. 19 Auburn 115-109 in a wild double overtime victory to open their Battle 4 Atlantis slate last Wednesday.
"We wanted to be playing against Baylor in that (Battle 4 Atlantis championship) game," Cole said via The Hartford Courant. "We didn't have that chance, but we knew that we couldn't come out here without two wins, so we made sure that we were successful in that part."
Isaiah Whaley added 16 points, Jalen Gaffney scored eight off the bench and Andre Jackson contributed a career-high 14 rebounds against the Rams for UConn, which trailed by as many as eight points in the first half.
VCU led 54-50 with 3:24 to play before the Huskies scored six of the next eight points to make it 56-56 and force OT. UConn opened overtime on a 7-0 run and outscored VCU 14-7 in the extra period.
The win allowed the Huskies to move up five spots from No. 22 in this week's AP Top 25 poll. They are the second-highest ranked team in the Big East, with only No. 6 Villanova (4-2) ahead of them.
Cole is the Huskies' second-leading scorer this season averaging 14.9 points. UConn's leading scorer is Adama Sanogo, who is putting up 16.7 points per game. Sanogo was held in check against VCU, scoring six points on 2-of-3 shooting with seven boards.
Maryland-Eastern Shore (2-4) will be looking to snap a two-game skid following back-to-back losses at Campbell on Nov. 24 and at Liberty last Saturday. The Hawks were defeated by the Flames 73-61 despite making it close in the second half.
Dom London scored a team-high 16 points while both Zion Styles and Donchevell Nugent scored 10 apiece to pace Maryland-Eastern Shore. The Hawks trailed by as many as 15 in the first half but pulled with 39-31 at the break.
A 20-13 surge out of halftime capped by Da'Shawn Phillip's jumper with 12 minutes to go brought Maryland-Eastern Shore within 52-51. However, the Flames regrouped and ended the game on a 21-10 run.
Styles is the Hawks' leading scorer through six games, averaging 12.5 points. London ranks second with 10.3 points per game while Phillip is averaging nine per contest.
UConn leads the all-time series 2-0 against Maryland-Eastern Shore. The teams are meeting for the first time since Dec. 17, 2012, when the Huskies rolled to an 84-50 victory.
"When we head up to UConn, we are going to just say, 'Hey, we are playing another high-level opponent' and that's no different than what we have done except for the name," Hawks coach Jason Crafton said via the team's website.
--Field Level Media