UConn men win in first-round matchup against Iona

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 8:08 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2023 at 10:33 PM EDT
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ALBANY, NY (WFSB) - The UConn men opened up NCAA Tournament play on Friday afternoon in Albany, New York, against Iona College.

They won the match 87 to 63 over Iona. They will now go on to play against St. Mary’s in Sunday’s matchup.

The Huskies had an open practice this afternoon.

The UConn men had to walk the proverbial fine line between enjoying the moments and preparing for the intensity that comes with this event.

For Head Coach Dan Hurley, past experience guiding UConn to this point brings him an understanding of what can be accomplished and how to have the regular season success continue.

“We don’t need an extraordinary performance. We don’t need a ‘Kemba moment.’ We got a deep team, so enjoy the open practice, enjoy the media. Enjoy being invited to this exclusive tournament,” said Hurley.

“Yeah I’m just trying to soak it all in being able to play in March Madness has been a dream of mine,” said freshman center Donovan Clingan.

“Just letting the moment sink in, not a lot of people play in this, so live in the moment, but we will fight to win games,” said sophomore guard Jordan Hawkins.

“Make sure I’m there for my brothers, my teammates and play hard. I feel like if I am a good leader and I think we will get a win for sure,” said junior center Adama Sanogo.

The Huskies took that fighting attitude into Friday’s game against Iona.

“You know we are here in the tournament, playing after a successful regular season so we are ready to show who we are at this time of year, against the best teams. This is what we have been working for, so the time is now,” said senior guard Joey Calcaterra.

Fans all around CT gathered to watch the Huskies play tonight, either at home or at the bar.

“I’m so excited,” said Maia Dechiario, UConn Freshman.

“At some points in the season they def looked like one of the best teams out there,” added Ryan Dunstan, UConn fan.

UConn juniors Charlie and Kyle just came back from spring break in the Dominican, just in time to watch the Huskies in March Madness.

“looking forward to winning it, that’s for sure,” said Charlie MacArthur. “I want them to go all the way obviously. We’re the best. This is the basketball capital of the world.”

Others are worried about their brackets.

“I have them in my finals. I got them winning against Alabama so roll Huskies,” said Isaac Crivac.

Isaac says if they don’t win his bracket is ruined.

Five teenagers from Nashua, New Hampshire, were touring the campus right before tipoff in Albany. The excitement could be felt throughout campus.

‘I can tell there’s still a buzz going on about the game and should be good,” said Tommy Koch.

“We are the basketball school. The student body behind us, it’s there. It’s always electric,” Charlie added.