Connecticut will reportedly have to play another game without its leading scorer.
UConn coach Dan Hurley said this week that James Bouknight might be back Wednesday when the Huskies visit Providence for a Big East Conference matchup. But a report by Stadium on Wednesday said Bouknight will not return against the Friars.
Bouknight, who was second in the conference in scoring at 20.3 points per game, injured his left elbow Jan. 5 in a win at Marquette. He underwent surgery about a week later to correct bone spurs and returned to practice last week.
Hurley said Bouknight’s impact during a scrimmage last week was immediate.
“He played one live segment on the gray team vs. the blue,” Hurley told the Hartford Courant. “Blue is the starters, gray is the bench guys, and the gray team won. So we’ll be glad to get him back in there.”
Connecticut (8-4, 5-4 Big East) has gone 3-3 with Bouknight sidelined. The biggest difference predictably has occurred on offense, where the Huskies averaged 75.5 points in the first six games with Bouknight as the go-to man. Without him, they have averaged just 67.3.
They are coming off an 80-73 home loss Saturday to Seton Hall, which led 38-29 at halftime and never trailed. Connecticut didn’t resemble the league’s top defensive team, permitting the Pirates to shoot 50 percent from the field and make 31 trips to the foul line.
Meanwhile, the Friars (9-10, 5-8) are reeling after three straight losses that have dropped them under the .500 mark. The latest occurred Saturday, 92-81 to St. John’s, even though Providence’s Nate Watson scored a career-high 30 points.
“They’ve got to know that you still believe in them as a group — which I do — every single day,” Providence coach Ed Cooley told the Providence Journal. “Do I see flaws in practice? Yes, but I also see greatness in there. It’s the greatness that we’ve got to continue to bring out of them.”
Watson has overtaken David Duke for the team scoring lead at 17.9 points per game. Duke is contributing 17.5 but was held to eight field-goal attempts and nine points by St. John’s.
Stadium also reports that starting sophomore guard Jared Bynum will miss the contest for the Friars. Bynum is averaging 5.8 points and 4.5 assists per game in 11 games.
–Field Level Media