The dreaded drought strikes again, but this time it hit UConn in the second half. They couldn’t buy a basket and it culminated with Adrien’s missed dunk. They played sloppy and haven’t been able to figure out the zone all year long. The big men aren’t getting themselves in position for entry passes, the guards are turning the ball over that led to easy fast break opportunities, they let a smaller team out rebound them by 16, and they couldn’t shoot over the zone. They relied to heavily on their outside shooting and couldn’t defend without fouling, half of West Virginia’s second half points came from the line . On top of all that, they gave another player their career high.
Price couldn’t find a shot in the second half, and ended his day going 5 for 13, with 10 of his 22 points coming from the free throw line. Austrie also had a bad shooting night. Only 1 of his 7 shots were from inside the arch. He needs to mix up his game. His free throw shooting is his greatest asset and he failed to get there. He needs to take the ball to the tin more. Wiggins had a solid game, hitting 3 of 4, only 1 foul, and didn’t turn the ball over. He is putting together a stretch of good games. Dyson needs to take over the team offensively, especially in the second half of games. He played well, 2 of 3 from the field, 3 steals, and got to the line. He had a tough task of guarding Alexander and he fouled way to much. He also needs to take better care of the ball, having a team high 3 turnovers.
Robinson has improved so much that a 11 point, 3 boards, and 2 block performance is lackluster. UConn needed him big time in the rebounding department and he couldn’t find the ball. His game is fueled by his tenacity on the boards and he just didn’t have a good game in that department.
Thabeet had trouble with how the referees were calling the game, but he did battle hard in the paint. West Virginia stayed away from the inside game and pulled him away as much as they could. He still had 6 boards, 3 of those were offensive. Adrien just couldn’t find a rhythm, and only got to the line twice. He had trouble rebounding and fighting the crowded Mountaineers in the paint. Without much inside presence, the pressure on scoring fell on the guards, and that isn’t UConn’s strength.
Gavin saw some playing time and had 1 point, 2 fouls, and 1 turnover in 8 minutes. Calhoun will shorten his bench this time of year, and barring some serious foul trouble, he won’t rely on Mandeldove, Beverly, and Gavin for serious minutes.
It was another sloppy, poorly executed game against the zone. What is amazing is that they were in control throughout the first half, even with Alexander’s excellent shooting, but once the second half opened, they choked. It is at these moments of offensive lulls that they should attack the basket, but they settled for outside shots. The loss should sting and drop their seeding a bit come selection time. They need to regroup, find ways to attack the zone, and protect the basketball. The loss doesn’t look as bad since Louisville and Notre Dame also lost. Connecticut is going to see this match up zone again, and they are going to need to figure it out quickly or its game over.