It wasn’t pretty but at this time of year, you need to win and move on. Unfortunately the missed jumpers towards the end of the last game carried over into this one. UConn got off to a slow start in both halves and had to gather themselves to take control of the game. With the offense a struggle, they hung their hat on the defensive end, won the battle on the boards, got points at the line and beat a tough Cincinnati squad. Once again they struggled against the zone. They had good looks but they weren’t falling for Lamb, Napier, and Napier. The offense landed on the shoulders of their superstar and he didn’t disappoint.
Walker knew he had to take over and carried UConn to a victory. His jumper wasn’t falling even though he made two three pointers and four jumpers. He front rimed a lot of good shots. One thing that carried this team was that he was able to get to the line and sustained the offense through key stretches. With his offense in flux, he still played hard defense and sealed the game with a beautiful steal and assist to Smith. He'll need to be more efficent against San Diego State because they are a much better offensive team.
Oriakhi did a much better job of rebounding against the zone. He struggled offensively but his rebounding, anchored the paint which is what this team needed against a great rebounding team. He had a hard time defending without fouling in the second half and it helped Cincinnati get into the bonus early, but luckily they didn’t cash in on it. He had several opportunities around the rim but the ball kept rolling off the rim. Olander got the start but didn’t contribute much.
Lamb was effective. He had two jumpers, two three pointers, a steal, a dunk, and five boards. He did have a five second call on an inbound play, but overall he was solid. He has a Dyson type of mentality out there, where he doesn’t show much emotion. He has become a solid pick and pop shooter, which this team hasn't had in some time. The upside to his game is boundless at this point. Beverly played sparingly and didn’t do much. Napier had a tough night offensively. He took another bad three pointer and his only offense was at the line and a nice dribble drive jumper. He did do a great job of rebounding, pulling down four boards. His defense was spectacular and caused havoc without fouling a great deal. He needs to penetrate more and dish out to open jump shooters more, but overall he had a solid game.
Smith had a poor game, having a bad foul on a three point shooter, missed his only jumper and had an offensive foul in the first half. He played a little better in the second half with a rebound, solid defense, a blocked shot, and a game sealing dunk. This team needs more offensive output from him and he won't get it if he is only taking one field goal shot a game. Coombs-McDaniel did a little of everything. He had two jumpers, a three pointer, hit three of four from the line, and had an offensive rebound, but he also had three turnovers. He needs to limit those risky passes against the pressure defenses. Giffey had a rebound and played solid defense.
Win and move on. It doesn’t matter how they get it done, they just need to do it. They’ll need to play much more fluidly in their next game. If they don’t find ways to get Smtih, Oriakhi, and Napier involved offensively, then it could be a tough game. Walker will get his, but he needs to do it more efficiently. Others need to contribute. They haven't been up against a team that is red hot from deep and they will. To combat that, they'll need a better offensive output from the bench. Hopefully they'll get the jumpers to fall again and quick because San Diego State is a great team and hungry to make a statement against a power house school.
UConn Knocks out Cincy. Watch more top selected videos about: Cincinnati Bearcats, Connecticut Huskies