Monday, November 24, 2008
UConn put together a total team effort, having four players in double figures. They were aggressive right from the tip and pushed the ball up the floor. Though they started the game on fire, they cooled down with some sloppy play and costly turnovers that gave the hurricanes some life. The defense looked much better and kept Miami at bay even with some late runs.
Thabeet looked determined right from the go. He took the ball to the basket even if he was double-teamed and was paid for it with 19 points. He also had an excellent rebounding performance pulling down 14 boards and swatting 7 shots. He needs to put together a stretch of games like these. Adrien just couldn’t get it going. He missed bunnies, never got to the line, pulled down 7 boards, didn’t have an assist and turned the ball over.
Price was going to find his shot and hit only 5 of 13, 1 of 4 from the line and 2 of 5 from three. Even though his shooting is off, he contributed on the boards and pulled down 11, that’s four more then Adrien. Dyson did what he needed to do, drive to the basket. He only shot the ball 7 times but he was in early foul trouble. The old Dyson showed up a couple of times. He was caught in the air a couple of times and he had a few offensive fouls. But his aggressive play helped fuel UConn’s offense and created the double-digit lead.
Kemba showed some growing pains. His driving shots rolled off the rim, he had some issues dribbling, and couldn’t find a rhythm to his game. But in the end, he had 11 points, 3 assists, and a steal. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that the kid is still a freshman. Austrie is still streaky from three, 0 for 3, but he came in at the end of the game and sealed it-7 for 9 from the line.
Gavin had a great game. He was 3 of 4 from the field, had 2 boards, 1 assist, and 1 block in 11 minutes. Beverly missed a shot in 2 minutes of play and Okwandu had zeros in 3 minutes of play.
This was the first legitimate test for the pups and they showed their merit. They were determined to beat the defense down the court and focus their offense through Thabeet who produced. There is still plenty to improve on but they corrected much of their woes on defense. The offense was a team effort and the ball movement in the half court looked crisp. This team can have a number of players step up. One night it was Adrien and Kemba and the next it is Thabeet. It is a well rounded team and now they are playing with confidence. That’s scary.