Thursday, December 9, 2010
UConn versus Farleigh Dickinson wasn't a fair fight, but the rust was evident early on and kept it close. UConn settled for jumpers instead of finding seams in the zone and their shots weren’t dropping. The ball movement was much better and the offensive load was distributed more evenly. The defense played extremely well and the help rotated over quicker and was able to block a ton of shots. A bad sign though, was that they were out rebounded in the first half, but did a much better job of hitting the glass in the second half as they pulled away. UConn just had to much depth, size and talent and wore down Fairleigh.
Walker wasn’t his dominating self. His jumper wasn’t dropping as efficiently as it has, but he didn’t force anything. His defense was much better and didn’t let his man by him. He’s been able to play a more suffocating defense without fouling and got is getting more steals. He deferred to his teammates and they came through for him this time. It is important for him to have trust in them to knock down shots, especially when they get into conference play.
Oriakhi didn’t have a monster offensive game. His jumper wasn’t there but was able to get the rim a couple of times. There were times when he was out of position in the first half to make plays and had to pass the ball out of the post. He needs to establish a post position and demand the ball more then make a quick move before the defense settles. He did do a great job in the second half on the boards, especially on the offensive end.
Napier again was the spark plug off the bench that helped UConn pull away from Farleigh. He still is making some freshmen mistakes in missing a dunk, gambling on defense, and taking tough shots that aren’t in the flow of the offense, but there is no doubt that he is the second best guard on the team. Lamb had a solid night too. He had a couple of threes, a slick reverse lay-up and a beautiful steal that set up a power slam. Hopefully this is a confidence builder for him. Beverly had a much bigger impact then he had in the prior games. He battled on the boards, had a couple of blocks, drilled a 3-ball, and handled the point well.
Giffey struggled early on missing his first three shots from deep and had a turnover, but in the second half he nailed a shot from deep and got to the line. He is still a streaky shooter and needs to find ways to contribute more on the boards. Smith had a huge impact on the game. He was all over the boards, got to the line, and had several dunks. This team is much more efficient when he is able to help out on the boards and attack the rim. Coombs-McDaniel needs to take the ball to the rim. His outside shot is just not dropping and he is much more effective when he attacks. He also is missing his free throws. He has a nice stroke and has been a good free throw shooter in the past. It is just a confidence issue.
Olander didn’t do anything in the first half, In the second, he was able to get to the offensive glass and knock down a 15-footer. Okwandu remains an enigma as a player. He looks uncomfortable with the ball in his hands and isn’t rebounding. These two players need to find ways to contribute or they’ll see their minutes drop in league play.
It took awhile for the offense to get going but when it did it turned into an all around team effort. Lamb, Smith, and Napier all helped out and Walker didn’t need to put up a huge amount of attempts. This will pay dividends when they get into conference play. The freshmen are going to need to find ways to get involved. Right now it is through the three ball and on the break, but as they get more comfortable with each other and the offense, they’ll be able to use set plays more effectively. But for the now this team will live and die by the three, something unfamiliar to UConn fans.