Discover more from The UConn Fast Break
Jordan Hawkins: "We're going on a revenge tour"
The Husky star and his teammates discussed the scenes from Wednesday night in Gampel and the importance of the win over Providence.
No. 18 UConn (21-7, 10-7 Big East) gave its seniors a tremendous send-off in Wednesday night’s dismantling of the No. 20 Providence Friars (20-8, 12-5 Big East).
In what may have also been his last game at Gampel Pavilion, Jordan Hawkins, who had 20 points on the night, expressed his appreciation for the environment.
“Gampel is my favorite place to play as a basketball player in my life,” he said, “It’s definitely nice to play here with the students…it got real loud tonight.”
Hawkins is projected by many to be picked in this summer’s NBA Draft. If he goes in the first round, he’d become the first Husky to do so since James Bouknight in 2021 and the second since Shabazz Napier in 2014.
“I love being here. Love playing for this team. Love playing for this state, so it meant a lot,” Hawkins said.
Like in their home games against Marquette and Seton Hall, the Huskies avenged a Big East loss from earlier in the season. One more team that beat them, St. John’s, lies ahead in a national television showcase on Saturday.
“We’re going on a revenge tour. We’re gonna see all those teams again,” Hawkins said.
“March is coming, so we gotta be on our A-game. This the time when people start to turn up, start to play their hardest.”
Freshman forward Alex Karaban came up big for UConn and earned redemption with his performance on both sides of the ball against the Friars, dropping 16 points with eight rebounds. He also commented on the success of UConn’s marketing for the game.
“That was probably the loudest times Gampel has been in there. The fans were unbelievable, they really lifted us up when Providence came storming back in the second half,” Karaban said. “They really gave us momentum to go on that grind, $2 beer night was a good one I guess.”
Karaban said he felt PC’s Bryce Hopkins “embarrassed” him in the early-January loss in Providence. This time the freshman demonstrated his ability to adjust.
“I took full responsibility for that loss because I wasn’t able to contain him as well as I should have,” Karaban said. “He’s one of the best players in the Big East. I respect the hell out of his game. He’s a superstar in this league, and I know he’s gonna have a bright future, but I was excited to come back and hold my own a little.”
Karaban also highlighted the hard work it takes to out-rebound an opponent like Providence by 20.
“We’ve become a tougher team throughout the year and if we stick to our identity…our defense, rebounding, toughness, it just shows that we’re a very hard team to beat.”
Senior guard Tristen Newton highlighted how UConn’s defensive strategy helped get the job done. Newton finished the night with 12 points and eight rebounds. The game plan was to “pressure the other team, make everything hard for them,” he explained.
Newton also drove home the fact that with their supporters behind them, the Huskies are ready to make a statement in March.
“Yeah, it felt great. The crowd and fans staying with me through all the ups and downs…it’s been a different type of game and everything, playing a different role, but I came here to win,” Newton said. “We’re winning, not as much as we’d like to but finna go on a run and make a deep push in March.”