Thursday, February 3, 2011
One could point to the poor shooting or lack of any consistent offense for this loss but this game was lost because of two factors: getting killed on the boards and awful turnovers. UConn let Syracuse have two or three attempts on the basket and score time after time on easy baskets around the rim. The Syracuse zone took away UConn’s strength and literally put it into the hands of their weakest link, interior play. The front court rushed passes or weren’t ready for them and the guards dribbled into trouble. Nothing was working but there they were only down three with plenty of time to get a stop and they had a freshmen mistake and fouled, which practically ended the game.
After Walker hit his first two shots and was pulling down boards, it looked like he was finally going to get on track, but he clanked every jumper after that. He did make a lay-up late, but overall it was a frustrating night out there for him. He isn’t getting the benefit of the calls anymore, which was one of the major reasons why he was averaging twenty-six points a game. Without whistles being blown, he settled for jumpers and that isn’t his strength.
Oriakhi should have dominated on the boards since he was going up against the zone, but he struggled mightily in that department, even giving up a free throw rebound. He did do a good job on help defense and blocking shots, but he has been in a major slump and it puts a lot of pressure on the half court offense.
Napier had a nice game. He hit two three pointers in the first half and made some sweet passes in the second. He is becoming more aggressive with the ball and found a way to get to the line, which he still needs to do. With Walker struggling, he needs to take more of a burden of the scoring and take a few more shots.
Lamb has become a go to player and has been the most consistent player on the team for at least a month. He hit four three pointers, had a couple of lay-ups, and is sinking his mid-ranged shots. He is the sole reason why this team is winning ballgames lately. The only thing lacking from his game is a post game and with his length, he should be able to have the complete package.
Smith had a tough game. He had a turnover, a couple of boards, and a few misses. This team needed his rebounding in this game and he didn’t show up in the second half. Olander had a good start to his night with a couple of boards and a trip to the line, but he followed that up with an awful pass and a sloppy turnover. Okwandu had a rough time with rebounding and with Oriakhi struggling offensively, he forced a lot of shots up. He still provided a lot of energy and gave the team what is expected from him.
It was good to see Giffey knock down that jumper and he had a beautiful pass too, but he also dribbled into trouble again. He played more then he has in a long time and he made some plays which is an encouraging sign. Coombs-McDaniel missed an outside shot, had a rebound, and turned the ball over. Not the impact that he wanted. Beverly also had a tough night with two turnovers, a rebound and a block. If he wants minutes then he can’t turn the ball over. It is the one thing this team needs from him.
It was the worst performance of the year and every team has them. They’ll have to put this one behind them, because they’ll have two very winnable games ahead of them and they can’t slip to far behind in the standings. They’ll see plenty of zone from here on out and they’ll need to knock down open jumpers and rebound much better to get this train on track, because in this league on slump late in the season could mean trouble.