Saturday, December 4, 2010
It truly was a tale of two halves. In the first, they continued their poor play. They allowed Maryland-Baltimore County to drive into the lane and draw the help, but no one rotated over to help out the helper. That left a wide open player to clean up the mess and this happened over and over and over again. UConn also struggled in rebounding and were going after rebounds with only one arm, resulting in tip balls that mostly went to MBC. In the second half they stopped the dribble penetration and did a much better job of limiting shots to only one and done. UConn also got help from the freshmen. These types of games are expected from such a young team and the only thing that is making some of these games victories instead of nail biting losses is a super star.
A triple double? Are you kidding me? What more can you ask from a player? Walker was everywhere, snagging rebounds, finding the open man, and doing what he always does-score. It is fun to see him do his thing. His jumper has turned into a weapon, especially from mid-range. He has an ability to hit shots while in motion and there is no aspect to his game that hasn’t stepped up.
Oriakhi had a tough first half and had a hard time of securing boards. He did control the paint with blocks, but they were sent out of bounds instead of turning into fast breaks. In the second half he found ways to get to the rim and showed an impressive jumper but he wasn’t the rebounding force this team needs. He should be dominating the boards with monster numbers against teams like this.
The back court performed well, especially in the second half and was a key reason to why UConn pulled away. Napier took a nice fall on an outside shot and had to get bandaged up early on. He didn’t have the impact on the game other then a three pointer and a few free throws. Lamb exploded in this game. He rebounded like a beast, hit the outside shot, dunked, had a pretty curl jumper, and had some blocks. His game looks so effortless but then there are games when he disappears. Beverly had a well rounded game. He rebounded, sank his free throws, hit a three pointer, and had a lay-up. It is good to see him impact the game in a positive way.
The wings all contributed and played up to their potential. Coombs-McDaniel had his best game of the year. He had a stretch in the first half where he clanked two free throws and it looked like he was going to have a poor night, but then he had a beautiful dribble drive score and a three pointer in back to back plays. From there he had another three and driving score. He did clank all his free throws and needs to find his rhythm there. Didn’t he sink a hundred in a row once? Giffey struggled in the first half having a pair of travel calls and not rebounding well, but in the second half he turned into his idol, Ray Allen. He sank three 3-balls and buried MCB. Smith had an overall good game. He rebounded, hit the outside shot, blocked shots, stole the ball, and made his free throws. He did play some bad defense that had Calhoun call a timeout and scream in his direction.
Okwandu played his usual limited minutes and had a line drive hook shot that miraculously went in. He also had a couple of boards and a block. Olander had a tough game. He was getting beat on the boards early on and had a horrible pass that lead to a turnover. In the second half he had a couple of offensive boards and a rebound, but wasn’t effective. He shows a lot of effort out there and eventually that will lead to production but right now he isn’t in position to make those plays.
Overall this was a good bounce back game for many of the role players. They all found ways to contribute offensively. They just need to secure the defensive boards and limit dribble penetration. It is going to be a growing process, but as long as they have Walker, they have that cushion to learn and still win ballgames. This is truly a special season to see a player like Walker do his thing. He makes it seem so effortless but when the clock hits zeros, he is sitting there on the sidelines with a triple double. Simply Amazing.