Sunday, January 24, 2010
Storm the Court
With Calhoun out for the second straight game and UConn’s season teetering on the edge of a postseason cliff, Dyson and company stepped up and took control of their own fate, defeating the Texas Longhorns in a crucial game for both teams. It didn’t look like UConn was up to the challenge early on with sloppy pass after sloppy pass and Texas draining threes with regularity, but UConn soon cleaned up their game and seized control of the tempo through their tough nosed defense that fueled transition baskets at the other end. Gampel went crazy and Texas looked a bit rattled. There is a huge difference between the XL center and Gampel. The crowd was amazing and was a major factor toward UConn pulling off the upset. There will be some who will say that UConn is better off because Calhoun is not there, but that is just nonsense. Calhoun is the sole reason why the talent is playing in a UConn jersey. This team is playing together because Calhoun is not there and not because Calhoun was holding them back.
Dyson had a career night and had everything working. If he is hitting his outside shot, then there is no stopping him. Displaying all his moves, Dyson showed the floater, catch and shoot, monster transition dunk, elbow jumper, three ball, and finished some amazing drives around the basket. He is still struggling from the line though and he needs to find the confidence there. Even though he is having a solid season in the assist department, he is turning the ball over way to much with sloppy passes. But with every negative play he has, he doubles that with positive plays.
Walker had twenty minutes of forgettable ball and twenty minutes of spectacular ball. He was struggling with dribbling and passing the ball. He committed turnover after turnover and Texas took advantage. In the second half, Kemba was on a mission. He attacked the basket more and finished around the rim, took a charge, had a sweet reverse lay-up, and hit an amazing deep three as the shot clock buzzer sounded. He has also shown the ability to drain the free throws at the end of the game to seal the deal. He just needs to play forty full minutes.
Robinson had a solid night and it started in the rebounding department. He stuck his nose into the paint, helping out in the much needed frontcourt. He had his Sports Center dunks, but it was his two turnaround shots and dunks in the post that were more amazing.
Edwards is just not playing up to his potential in the last several games. He was running hard and was rewarded but he is not making the positive plays that he was in December. Oriakhi battled hard for rebounds and made his free throws, but he is getting sealed off too close to the basket. He hasn’t been called on to play a major role on the offensive end and doesn’t set the greatest screens, but he is settling into his role and what they expect of him.
Majok had his best game of his career. He was active, diving on the floor for loose balls and blocking shots. He was a bit erratic from the line, but has a nice stroke that shows what the scouts have said about his outside shot. Beverly is another player that has played fantastic in the last two games. He hustles and had another energetic dunk. Coombs-McDaniel and Okwandu didn’t have a major impact on the game.
UConn needed this game and with the confidence they garnered through the St. John’s victory, they seized control of the tempo and finally put a good team away and kept them there. It couldn’t have happened at a better time. They are going to need to string together several winning streaks to rise up the Big East standings. To feel comfortably locked into the NCAA tournament, they want to be around sixth in the standings. While one game doesn’t make a season, to be able to control the boards, knock down the free throws, and hit some outside shots against an elite squad is a great sign. They just need to maintain this effort and efficiency and that has been the problem.