No. 14 UConn escapes vs. UFC in Majok’s debut
Connecticut got bigger on Sunday with the addition of 6-foot-11
freshman Ater Majok. It wasn’t immediately clear if the Huskies
have gotten better.
Stanley Robinson scored 26 points and No. 14 UConn came from
behind to beat Central Florida 60-51.
Robinson scored 23 of his points in the second half, helping
Connecticut (7-2) overcome a 9-point deficit.
Jerome Dyson added 16 points, despite hitting just five of 15
shots from the floor.
Majok, heralded forward with 7-7 wingspan, had a less than
auspicious debut, scoring a single point and grabbing 3 rebounds.
The former refugee from Sudan had not been eligible until the end
of the 2009 fall semester.
“I’m not going to put the game behind me,” he said. “The game
is going to be a learning experience. It’s always going to be
there. Every time I feel like, ‘Why am I here?’ that will be my
Freshman guard Marcus Jordan, the son of Michael Jordan, led
Central Florida (7-4) with a season-high 13 points. A.J. Tyler had
12, but fouled out with just under 3 minutes left.
Connecticut, which had not played since a 64-61 loss to No. 3
Kentucky on Dec. 9, came out of the gate slowly, turning the ball
over 13 times and making just five of 14 shots in the first half.
The Huskies were booed going into the locker room, down
“Going a week and a half without playing and just going back
and forth between practice and then going to exams and studying for
hours, that will definitely take its toll on you,” said UConn
forward Gavin Edwards. “We should have been able to get up for the
game today, but we just came out dead.”
UConn trailed 31-22 before Robinson sparked the Huskies. His
alley-oop dunk tied the game at 35, and a pair of foul shots with
just under 12 minutes left gave UConn its first lead of the second
His putback dunk with under a minute left made it 58-49.
“We didn’t put in our best effort, and we didn’t do what we
were supposed to do, but we did get the win, and I guess that’s
what matters,” Robinson said.
UConn was outrebounded by the Knights 36-34, and the Huskies
had just nine offensive boards. Dave Diakite had 12 rebounds for
Central Florida. Gavin Edwards had 11 for UConn.
“I thought we battled them pretty hard on the glass and
fought hard,” UCF coach Kirk Speraw said. “We missed an awful lot
of shots, so we had more opportunities to get some offensive
rebounds than they did.”
Majok started and received a standing ovation when he was
introduced. He played just 2 1/2 minutes and got a seat on the
bench after his man, Keith Clanton, scored four quick points.
He received another ovation when he made a free throw with
just over 4 1/2 minutes left in the first half, his only point of
That was the highlight of his night. He left the game for the
final time late in the second half after Calhoun used an expletive
and told him to sit down.
“I take that as a motivation,” Majok said. “The more he
cusses me out on the court, the more he yells at me, the more I
know that he loves me and at the end of the day he wants me to be
the best I can be.”
Majok committed to UConn in May 2008 and has been practicing
with the team since January. He fled civil war in Sudan with his
family when he was just 5 years old and spent eight years in an
Egyptian refuge camp before his family moved to Australia in 2001
with the help of the United Nations.
That is where he came to the attention of UConn assistant
Andre LeFleur, who had played pro ball in Australia.
UCF has lost 11 consecutive times to Top 25 teams.
It was the Knights’ third game of the season against a Big
East team. They lost 90-72 at Notre Dame on Dec. 6 and fell 69-65
to South Florida on Wednesday.