It was another heartbreaker against another top echelon team, but a much better showing then what UConn showed against Duke. Sure the outside shooting was severely lacking, and they are giving up easy buckets on offensive rebounds, but UConn displayed the heart and tenacity throughout the game. They just couldn't hit their free throws and sink some buckets when it counted. They can’t miss the abundant amount of attempts at the line if they want to play the driving style of ball. What was also clear in this game was UConn’s lack of depth in the frontcourt. Luckily Majok will make his debut in the next game. They are going to need a fourth man in that rotation, especially when they are in foul trouble. They had the perfect opportunity to knock off a quality squad, but came up short, but they aren’t too far off the elites. They just need to do two things, start and finish games strong.
Dyson was lackadaisical at the start of the game and got the early yank, but when he came back, he was his aggressive self. He caused havoc against Kentucky’s guards. He was guilty of missing a few important free throws in crucial stretches and bricked a dunk. But Jerome was UConn’s sole offense and without him, they looked lost. He just needs to be the go-to player at the line and he hasn't been.
Walker took a little while to get going and was having a hard time controlling the dribble, but he played a well rounded game. He was penetrating and putting up floaters, but he isn’t finding open shooters. Most of his dishes were in traffic with the recipient not in position for a shot. He also missed some critical free throws down the stretch and had trouble containing Wall. He is lacking confidence with his outside shot, which is the best on the team. He needs to jack up at least three a game.
Robinson struggled all night. He had a hard time finding rebounds and he felt lost among Kentucky’s bigs. He was fumbling with the ball when he put it on the deck and had way too many turnovers. He needs to simplify his post moves and not do to much. He played solid defense, but UConn needs more from him.
Edwards was brilliant. He got UConn on track when they were down twelve and he did a little of everything. He was aggressive rebounding, hit his free throws, blocked shots, ran hard on the break, and scored in the post. With Oriakhi struggling, Edwards has stepped up his game to another level. He is still having trouble securing the ball after a miss, but without him, UConn would have been blown out.
Oriakhi was up and down all game, which is to be expected from a freshman. He would miss an easy lay-up and then make a powerful slam, then lose sight of his man for an easy dunk and then have an incredible block, he would turn the ball over and then sneak in for a steal. It must be frustrating for Calhoun, who would normally yank him after a mistake, but he just doesn’t have anyone to replace him with, so he has to live with the freshmen mistakes and it is costing them dearly.
Okwandu was a fouling machine, which is much like Thabeet’s first season. Some of them were bad calls, but he needs to know when to play physical and when not to. Beverly came in early and helped spell Dyson and Walker. He was dribbling the ball too much in the half court sets, but he did hit a nice elbow jumper. Coombs-McDaniel took a bad shot and was not seen again. Trice attacked the rim in transition and got to the line, but also had a horrible pass. Smith roamed the bench.
UConn is just not able to finish halves out. They have no confidence in their outside shot and it is causing slow starts to ballgames, but once they settle down, they can hang with anyone in the country. They just need to get some resume building wins and they had opportunities to, but let them slip out of their hands. They're a few bricks at the line that could have been converted away from two solid wins, but that is the sliver of difference in this sport.