Monday, December 29, 2008

No Surprises

This was no surprise. There were shades of this combination of sloppy play and poor man-to-man defense throughout the previous 11 games. The half court offense was erratic and they never settled down and established their big men. The pressure to score then fell on the guards and they weren’t up to the task finishing 14 for 34. With the referees calling a tight ballgame, UConn couldn’t keep Georgetown in front of them and fouled them as they whizzed by, sending them to the line 7 times in the last 10 minutes of play and making their attempt at a comeback impossible.

Price was one of two huskies that played well. His line of the night, 16 points, 5 boards, and 2 dimes was only marred by his 3 turnovers. While he hit the three ball early, he was nearly invisible during stretches of the ballgame. Kemba had a so-so game. While his stats seem impressive, 14 points, 2 boards, and 1 steal, he looked the freshman at times, causing some crucial boneheaded turnovers in the second half. Calhoun has a lot of confidence in him, because he was handling the ball down the stretch. He was able to use his speed at times but failed to see players running with him on the break and finished with no assists.

Austrie had no turnovers, the only starter without one. He also was non-existent offensively, ending the game with 4 points. He is slowly losing playing time to Kemba and finished with only 18 minutes. Dyson struggled mightily. His outside shots clanked (0 for 2), his lay-ups rolled off the rim, he dribbled into trouble (4 turnovers), and he shot 2 for 4 from the stripe. If Dyson’s offense is not there, the entire team stutters and has no rhythm to their game.

Adrien took over during UConn’s hardest push to get back in this game, but he also contributed in costly mistakes on the defensive end and turned the ball over that led to easy points. While he was solid at the line (5 for 7), he had only 5 rebounds against a poor rebounding team. The team needed more from him. Thabeet looked like the Thabeet of a year ago. He didn’t fight for position and let Georgetown muscle him out of the post by fronting him. When he did get the rock, he lost the handle on the ball. He was a monster blocking the ball (7) but the ball went out of bounds and UConn couldn’t capitalize on them. For 34 minutes of play, UConn needs more than 4 points from their highly touted center.

Robinson showed some rust. While his one-handed flying put-back was impressive, he gave up two put-backs for Georgetown because he didn’t put a body on his man. He did rebound well, 5, but his defense was a step behind. Gavin had 2 points and a steal in his nine minutes.

It wasn’t just the fact that UConn lost, it was how they lost. They were out played thoroughly. Georgetown dictated the pace, and was in control throughout. When UConn made the run to come back within 3, they couldn’t find a way to stop Georgetown from getting to the rim without fouling and when they got the ball, they were erratic and out of control. They didn’t look like an experienced squad. Throughout these 12 games, UConn hasn’t shown an ability to play solid defense and relied to heavily on their offense to carry them. Hopefully this game is a wakeup call that the defense is what will carry them in the postseason, because if things go the way the have, this team will have a bitter graduation.

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