Assumption Men's Basketball loses to UConn by 9

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Molly Sweeney

For more than a fleeting moment, the Assumption College Men’s Basketball team was doing the unthinkable—they were beating the defending national champions, the University of Connecticut Huskies, in front of a crowd of 7,109 fans.

On Sunday, November 9, 2014, the Greyhounds took on UConn for one last pre-season exhibition game. This was the first meeting between the Greyhounds and the Huskies. Played at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., the Hounds were defeated by the Huskies with a score of 69 to 58.

For Assumption senior Matt Bailey, the exhibition game was something that held extra meaning. A native of Cheshire, Conn., he grew up watching the team against whom he was going to be playing.

“It was fun; I had a lot of fun. I grew up watching UConn so I’ve been to this place a million times watching the games. It’s a lot different, eyes on you,” said Bailey.
Matt Mahar, who is in his fourth season as head coach, coaches the Hounds and the Huskies are coached by Kevin Ollie, a UConn alumnus, who is in his third year as head coach.

Despite UConn scoring first, the Hounds battled back during the first few minutes to lead the game 3-2. Going into the second half, the score was 33 to 25, with UConn leading. With less than five minutes remaining in the game, Assumption was down 64 to 50. Mahar subbed in the Assumption bench and the unthinkable happened. Declan Soukup of Assumption made a 3-pointer, which was then followed by a pair of quick 3-pointers from Assumption senior Matt Bailey to bring cut UConn’s lead to just nine points.

“I was relieved after I scored,” said Bailey about his back-to-back 3-pointers.

Assumption was seen at as the underdogs prior to the game against UConn, who seven months ago, beat the University of Kentucky to win the national title. Assumption had come into the game following a Friday night matchup against Division I Holy Cross, which resulted in an 81 to 53 loss. UConn had played an exhibition game against Northeast-10 member Southern Connecticut State University, where UConn squeaked in a win with a 12-point margin.

The game was organized when Mahar mailed Associate Head Coach Glen Miller, of UConn, about a potential exhibition game.

“It will be a great experience for our guys to get out there and play against one of the best teams in the country and to give our guys the experience,” said Mahar prior to the game.

The Huskies, who are ranked 17th in a preseason poll, are seven months off of winning a national title against the University of Kentucky. Assumption, who is ranked eighth in the NE10 Northeast Division Coaches poll, is hoping to make it to the NCAA playoffs in March.

“The goal is always to make it to the NCAA tournament, that’s the bench mark of a really good season. We have a lot of new faces and they’re playing hard, after a lot of injuries last year everyone’s excited to start fresh,” said Mahar.

The Hounds began their regular season on Saturday, November 15 with a home game against Caldwell and a home game against Dominican on Sunday, November 16.
They will be back in action on Wednesday, November 19, when they take on Bentley at 7:30 p.m. in the Laska Gymnasium.

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