Thursday, December 3, 2009
This was a great bounce back game for the Huskies. They made a concerted effort to attack the boards on both ends. Sure the competition wasn’t on UConn’s level, but they made it an emphasis, especially the guards, to create space and seal off their man. On offense it took nearly nine minutes for UConn to finally hit a jumper, but when they did, you could see the confidence start to mount. On the defensive end, Connecticut was solid, they gave up a few open threes in transition, but in the half court sets, they were stout. This was exactly the game that Calhoun needed. With all the close games that they have been playing, he couldn’t give his freshmen the playing time they needed, but with the Huskies holding a comfortable lead, Trice, Coombs-McDaniel, and Smith all got quality minutes.
Dyson is as tough as nails. He attacked the rim like always, but also found his elusive jumper. Other then the scary moment when he went down, he was unstoppable. He found ways to split the defense and get into the lane for fouls, which he knocked down, and lay-ups. His defense was also stellar and he protected the weak-side for rebounds.
Walker had a solid night and filled the role of the outside shooter, which he needs to. Like A.J. Price, he’ll be able to get open looks from deep through the flow of the offense and he needs to hit a few each game. He was great in transition, flashing his speed and looking up the court. He also played good defense with a great block and dove to the floor for loose balls.
It is taking Robinson awhile to get into the flow of the game and it wasn’t until eight minutes had passed until he put up his first shot, a dunk. He stuck his nose around the paint all night and helped out on the rebounding end, which fuels his game. Soon his jumpers began to sink and he started finding his way to the rim. He still needs to show a post game. With his length and skills, he should be able to turn and shoot over anyone.
Edwards had a solid night and is UConn’s best post player. He also has a reliable outside shot, if he doesn’t rush it. He needs to show more patience with the ball in his hands. He had a few travel calls that he could’ve avoided if he slowed down. He was much better rebounding and didn’t fumble the ball when it was in his hands.
Oriakhi brought it on the rebounding end. He was aggressive on the offensive boards, creating multiple opportunities for UConn. He still is a little awkward in the post and is finding himself stretching around the rim for lay-ups and missed an easy dunk because he didn’t finish strong. On defense, he was ball watching and not putting a body on his man, which is something he will learn.
Okwandu didn’t have his best performance. He turned the ball over, couldn’t handle a simple rebound, and had his arms extended on defense for an easy foul call. Beverly was consistent off the bench, hit a jumper and made a great pass in transition. Smith was a bit erratic. He was forcing the entry pass and was getting beat repeatedly on defense. Coombs-McDaniel struggled offensively and clanked several wide open shots and was stripped in transition, but he kept at it and was fouled a couple of times going to the rim where he made his free throws. He also hit a three late in the game. It was good to see him aggressive though. Trice had a great steal and was fouled, but didn’t box out his man and allowed an offensive board.
This game was the confidence booster that the Huskies needed after the drumming by Duke. The elusive jumper reappeared and the rebounding returned. While there is still some work to do, they can feel content that the hard work in practice is showing up on the court. They need to carry this effort on the glass over into the next game and this should give them the much needed confidence to do that. But who knows which team will show up next?