UConn, Arkansas; At-a-Glance

Four top-ten teams, UConn, Arizona, Gonzaga and Michigan State join Kansas, Maryland, Arkansas and host Chaminade comprise perhaps the best field ever for a preseason tournament. The second-ranked UConn Huskies begin their quest for a title on Monday night against the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Particulars –

2005 EA Sports Maui Invitational

#2 UConn Huskies vs. Arkansas Razorbacks

Monday, November 21, 2005, 11:30 p.m.

Lahaina Civic Center, Maui, Hawaii


Watching – ESPN2, @11:30 p.m. (est.)

Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Bill Raftery, Jay Bilas (analysts)


Listening – UConn Radio Network; WTIC 1080 AM

Affiliates - WILI-Willimantic (1400-AM); WLIS-Old Saybrook (1420-AM);

WMRD-Middletown (1150-AM); WICC-Bridgeport (600-AM);

WLAD-Danbury (800-AM); WXLM-New London (102.3 FM).

Joe D'Ambrosio (play-by-play), Wayne Norman (analyst)


TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE: (All times eastern)


No. 1 Chaminade vs. Michigan State 2:30 (ESPN2)

No. 2 Gonzaga vs. Maryland1, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)

No. 3 Arizona vs. Kansas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)

No. 4 Arkansas vs. Connecticut, 11:30 p.m. (ESPN2).


No. 5 Loser of game No. 1 vs. loser of game No. 2, 1:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

No. 6 Loser of game No. 3 vs. loser of game No. 4, 4 p.m. (ESPNU)

No. 7 Winner of game No. 1 vs. winner of game No. 2, 4 p.m. (ESPN)

No. 8 Winner of game No. 3 vs. winner of game No. 4, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)


No. 9 Winner of game No. 5 vs. winner of game No. 6, 2 p.m. (ESPN)

No. 10 Loser of game No. 7 vs. loser of game No. 8, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

No. 11 Loser of game No. 5 vs. loser of game No. 6, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)

No. 12 Winner of game No. 7 vs. winner of game No. 8, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)


A History of Preseason Stumbles --It has been 50 years since UConn captured a preseason tournament title that they did not host. The dry spell encompasses 23 tournaments and dates back to UConn's victory in the 1956 Orange Bowl Classic.


An Unfamiliar Opponent -- UConn and Arkansas have only met once previously. UConn scored a 74-64 victory over Arkansas in the third-place game of the 1997 National Invitation Tournament.


UConn led 40-30 at the half, but an 8-0 Arkansas run closed the lead to six points before UConn pulled away behind Richard Hamilton's 19 points.


Freshmen Reunion -- Craig Austrie had played against Arkansas freshman guard Sean McCurdy previously. McCurdy was briefly on UConn's recruiting radar in the class of 2005.


Both freshmen will play major roles for their clubs. McCurdy has been impressive for Arkansas thus far; in 23 minutes, the freshman scored seven points and handed out six assists against four turnovers in Arkansas' season opener against Portland.


Arkansas won its season opener against Portland 107-69. Ronnie Brewer led the Razorbacks with 24 points, including three-of-six shooting from beyond the arc.


1,000 Point Club – With his nine points against Pepperdine, Rashad Anderson became the 38th Husky to hit the 1,000 points scored mark. The 39th member will join him shortly; Denham Brown currently stands at 940 career points.


Block Party – UConn led the Big East and the country in blocked shots last season by sending back 8.9 shots per contest. Arkansas is their SEC counterpart leading that conference with 5.2 blocks per game. (Good for 19th nationally.)


He Sorta Looks Like Jesus Shuttleworth -- Arkansas senior guard Jonathon Modica looks a little like Ray Allen. If the NBA does not work out, perhaps there's a spot as a stunt double in He Got Game II


Weirdest Stat Ever Found in a Media GuideArkansas' media guide touts eight Razorbacks as having wingspans greater than their height. Genetically engineered crops served on the Arkansas training table might be to blame.


UCan't – Arkansas senior wing and SEC Preseason Player of the Year, Ronnie Brewer, chose Arkansas over UConn as a high school senior. Brewer, whose father also played for Arkansas, has developed into the SEC's best player and a consensus All-American among preseason publications.


Season Openers –


Arkansas -- Dontell Jefferson matched the school record of 15 assists, Ronnie Brewer and Charles Thomas set career scoring highs, and Arkansas shot 60.3 percent from the floor (41-68) in topping Portland State, 107-69, on Friday. Jefferson had just four turnovers while also adding eight points and a career-high five rebounds. Thomas had career highs of 20 points and seven rebounds, and Brewer had a personal-best 24 points. Darian Townes had 14 points, eight rebounds and a career-high seven blocked shots, and Jonathon Modica had 16 points. UA used a 19-0 run in the first half to take a 33-10 lead and never looked back. The 107 points are the most for the Hogs since Dec. 30, 2000, when UA beat Grambling State, 121-66. The 107 points in a season-opener are the most since 1998 when Arkansas downed Northeastern Illinois, 114-56.


UConn -- Sophomore Rudy Gay (Baltimore, Md.) and junior Josh Boone (Mt. Airy, Md.) each registered a double-double to help the University of Connecticut men's basketball team to a 75-56 win over Pepperdine University Friday night at Firestone Fieldhouse. The game was the season opener for both squads. With the win, UConn improves to 16-4 in season openers under head coach Jim Calhoun and captures a win in the first ever true road game to open a season under Coach Calhoun. Boone finished with a team high 18 points and added 12 rebounds, while Gay scored 15 points, grabbed ten boards and added five blocked shots. Senior Rashad Anderson (Lakeland, Fla.) finished the game with nine points and now has 1,005 for his career. Pepperdine had cut UConn's lead to 54-47 with just over seven minutes remaining, but the Huskies responded with a 15-3 burst that gave them a 69-50 edge with 3:33 to play. UConn led 34-24 at the half on the strength of a tenacious defense that held Pepperdine to 26.8% shooting from the field.


Arkansas Razorbacks Probable Starters

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Exp. Pts. Rebs.

(2005 final statistics)


4 Dontell Jefferson G 6-5 181 SR 1L 8.0 15.0

School-record tying 15 assists and career-high five rebounds in win over Portland State


10 Ronnie Brewer G 6-7 217 JR 2L 24.0 2.0

Preseason All-American by Athlon Sports, Blue Ribbon, College Basketball Yearbook, CBSSportsline.com & The Sporting News; and SEC preseason player of the year by SEC media, Blue Ribbon, CBSSportsline.com & The Sporting News


24 Jonathon Modica G 6-5 208 SR 3L 16.0 1.0

Averaged 21.5 points and 10.0 rebounds in two exhibition  games while shooting .560 from floor (14-25)


5 Darian Townes C 6-10 255 SO 1L 14.0 8.0

Career-high seven blocked shots in win over Portland State


21 Charles Thomas F 6-8 245 SO 1L 20.0 7.0

Career highs of 20 points and seven rebounds in win over Portland State; shot 75 percent from field in two exhibition games (15-20), averaging 19.5 points


Points of Emphasis –


  • UConn brings a pair of freshman point guards into the Maui Invitation to face Arkansas' experienced and talented backcourt. Can Craig Austrie and Robert Garrison run UConn's offense against Arkansas, especially after a shaky debut against a weaker Pepperdine team?
  • Arkansas has size up front, but much like UConn's point guards, they lack seasoning. Can Darien Townes and company can keep UConn's bigger and faster front court from dominating inside?
  • Ronnie vs. Rudy. Both players should plan to see a lot of each other Monday night. Whichever super-wing wins that battle may determine the outcome of the game.

Source - UConn, Arkansas Media Guides, Game Notes

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