STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Dan Hurley had a successful coaching debut at UConn Thursday as his Huskies opened their season with an 80-70 win over Morehead State.
Josh Carlton scored 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Jalen Adams scored 16 points and Alterique Gilbert added 15 for the Huskies, who led by just four points at halftime.
Lamontray Harris had 16 points and Malek Green 14 for Morehead State.
The student section in Gampel Pavilion held up letters that spelled out “Hello Hurley” and cheered loudly as the new coach made his way to the bench before the game.
The 45-year-old, who led Rhode Island to NCAA Tournament appearances in each of his last two seasons, remained on his feet the entire game, gesturing and yelling for the Huskies to push the ball or urging the crowd to stand up and cheer.
His team’s new aggressive style was on display from the opening tip when Adams dove to floor to force a tie-up and a turnover as his new coach applauded.
UConn, coming off a disappointing 14-18 season, never trailed. They led by as many as 13 in the first half and 16 in the second, but had to weather several Morehead State runs.
UConn: Hurley’s new run-and-press resulted in the Huskies forcing 17 turnovers and outscoring a much smaller Morehead State team 46-22 in the paint. Last season, Hurley’s Rhode Island team forced 536 turnovers, which ranked 13th nationally.
Morehead State: The Eagles shot 40 percent after making 53 percent of their shots in their season opener against Kentucky Christian. They were outrebounded 41-36 after pulling down 48 boards on Tuesday.
UConn: The Huskies continue the preliminary rounds of the 2K Empire Classic by hosting UMKC on Sunday.
Morehead State: The Eagles visit Syracuse on Saturday, also as part of the 2K tournament.