Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Starters not Closers
It wasn’t how UConn wanted to end their season, but at least they left it all out on the court. There can’t be any finger pointing at a lack of heart or energy that was seen in games against Providence and St. John’s. They played hard and were beat by a better squad. UConn’s season long flaw sealed their fate, they have starters but they don't have any closers. They can’t make the positive plays down the stretch of tight ballgames and it cost them at least five games and a chance at the Big Dance. The offense looked good early on but they couldn’t buy an outside shot in the second half. They feasted on put backs and second chance opportunities. The defense was solid enough, but struggled all year in getting back, even on made baskets. Why is it so hard to run back? It cost them a half dozen points and most likely the game.
It was good to see Dyson play well in his last game. People can say what they want about him, but they can’t question his toughness and heart. Even though he struggled down the stretch of the season, he willed his team over a gritty Northeastern team and nearly won this game. He did have two costly turnovers late in the final minutes, but was everywhere defensively. He just isn’t a closer.
Walker was simply amazing. His jumper was working in the first half and when it wasn’t in the second half, he took the ball to the rim and was rewarded with free throws. He was also able to get into the lane and draw the defense in to slip the ball to his big men. It was also interesting to see him play the two man game with Edwards with effectiveness. His turnaround in the later half of this season has given UConn fans hope for next year.
Robinson had his best game in some time. He showed a dribble drive and finish around the rim, which is what NBA scouts are drooling over, but he just hasn’t forced the action all year. Again he was a non-factor down the stretch of the ballgame. He has so much potential that it will be interesting to see where he lands in the draft. He is also a major culprit in not running back on defense.
Edwards had a solid game around the rim, but couldn’t finish his final shot. He showed good hustle and energy, fighting hard for loose balls and rebounds. It will be interesting to see if a NBA team takes a shot at him. Oriakhi played much better. He rebounded and scored around the basket, but he is another one that isn't running back hard. Majok took an early jumper and Calhoun pulled him, but when he came back he had a nice rebound and put-back, hustle dive for a loose ball, and a steal. Okwandu played solid defense, a block and had an and-one.
Coombs-McDaniel had a pretty drive and finish but his outside shot wasn’t dropping. He’ll need to be much more aggressive next year and should be flirting with a double-digit average. Beverly did a good job of running the point but then had a costly travel call that sent him to the bench.
The season is finally over and this game was a microcosm of their entire season. They looked great at times and horrible at times, they couldn’t buy a basket against the zone, they couldn’t run back on defense, and they couldn’t finish games. It wasn’t the way the seniors wanted to end their season, and their legacy here will be of not living up to their full potential and for Calhoun that has got to be killing him.