While UConn needed this victory in the worst way, they sure aren’t coming out of it with a whole lot of momentum. They still gave up to many offensive boards, they are getting killed by the outside shot, and they continue to turn the ball over in bunches. There was way to much dribbling to start the half court sets and they were having problems remaining composed when the trap came. On defense, UConn still has no answer for the basic pick and roll, though the bigs did a much better job with extending the defense, but they are losing the battle for the long rebounds and stopping the second attempts. There is no easy Big East game, but it shouldn’t be this much of a grind to pull out a victory against the worst team in the league at home. It either shows the depth of the bottom half of the league or the depth to which UConn has fallen.
Dyson took awhile to get involved in the offense and that has a lot to do with him not wanting to get into early foul trouble. When he was aggressive he was effective, getting fouled six times while driving to the rim and finishing a ton of plays around the rim. He did have a sloppy no-look pass and clanked a bunch of outside shots, but he took over the game down the stretch and won this game. It was good to see him have a solid night from the line.
It was a great sign to see Walker take the first shot of the game even if he missed it. He needs to be aggressive right from the tip. Other then losing control of the dribble a couple of times, he played a solid game. He played great defense, taking a charge and snatching steals. He has certainly turned his game around in the past month. All he needs to do is find his outside shot and he will be unstoppable.
Robinson didn’t have his best performance. He did hit a three, got to the line, and rebounded better but he was rushing his shots. He also had two opportunities to jump to the ground for tie-ups and he didn’t. This team needs more from him to pull away from teams in these tight ballgames. He just hasn't done the little things out there lately.
Edwards was solid from the line but his hands are a liability. Passes are careening off them, rebounds slipping out of his grasp, and he is losing the ball in traffic or on dunk attempts. He needs to get this under control, because it is killing the team. Oriakhi was the best player on the court in the first half with put-backs, blocks, strong boards, and made his free throws, but in the second half he disappeared. He did hit another elbow jumper but he needs to put a full forty minutes of ball together, because that first half shows the impact he can have on the court and UConn needs every bit of it.
Majok also had a solid outing with a beautiful turnaround fifteen-footer in the post. He hustles for loose balls, blocks shots especially three pointers, finishes plays strong, and rebounds with strength. He is slowly coming into his own and with another year under his belt, the NBA isn’t too far away.
Beverly clanked shot after shot but it was good to see him take them. He usually defers and teams are playing off him. It also seems like he has a very high dribble which gives teams more of a chance to steal the ball. Coombs-McDaniel played solid defense but had an air-ball on offense. He needs to find his jumper and in a hurry. He doesn't have that shooters mentality and the misses are getting to him. Smith gave up an easy lane to the basket and wasn’t seen again.
It was a must win and they won which was important, but it does nothing to curtail the thoughts that this team has the ability to climb out of the enormous hole that they are in. Struggling to come out with a victory at Gampel against the worst team in the league doesn’t bode well on UConn’s overall expectations. They’ll need to play much better especially early in ballgames and hope teams stop draining threes on them, because the schedule only gets tougher and they need to finish above .500 in the league to have a chance at a NCAA berth and this game leaves more questions then answers.