Friday, November 25, 2011
Flaws in Paradise
While UConn was playing in paradise, the game was far from perfection. They got off to a fast start and the game looked to heading towards a blowout, but UConn began turning the ball over, a nasty trait of late, and they started taking jumpers instead of using their superior size to attack the paint. The poor shooting for UNC-Asheville didn’t last long and they soon began knocking down threes and clawed their way back into the game. Every time UConn looked to be ready to land the knock out punch, UNC-Asheville made some tough shots and UConn took some ill-advised shots or turned the ball over. The half court offense again stuttered with little to no ball reversal or inside outside passes. Most of the offense began and ended with Lamb and Napier, which was just enough to keep a pesky UNC-Asheville at arms length and pull off the victory.
Lamb had a very efficient night hitting 8 of 13 from the field. He has become a reliable three point shooter, but at times falls in love with the shot and needs to use the floater and mid-ranged shot. He got to the line four times, but needs to at least double that. He also found himself caught in the air with no where to go with the ball and had a horrible foul on a three point shooter in the closing minutes. Besides all that Lamb did a great job on the boards, pulling down 6 rebounds with some of those in traffic. He has been the quiet assassin for this team.
Napier carried over his superb play against Coppin State into this game. He was driving the lanes for some acrobatic lay-ups, sinking the outside shot, and getting to the line but only sank 4 of 9. He did have a hard time taking care of the ball, having 5 turnovers. He also had four 3-point attempts that were either too early or not in the flow of the offense. He needs to be more patient with the offense and not rush things and let his big men settle into position. Everyone must understand that he is playing a ton of minutes, isn't used to having the ball this much, and is still only a sophomore.
With Oriakhi’s struggles, Drummond was rewarded with the start. He had an up and down game, which is expected for a freshman. He started with a two dunks, a steal and an offensive rebound, but he soon found himself struggling to find some rhythm. He wasn’t attacking the rim and found himself laying the ball off the glass or floating it up for misses. He did do a good job on the offensive glass, snagging 3. He found himself again fighting foul problems with two offensive fouls and several on help defense. Oriakhi's mystery season continued. He had a lay-up and 1, a nice block, and a nice post move that sent him to the line, but he was supposed to be a leader on the court this year but instead he is losing minutes, playing only 15 minutes. His inconsistencies are hurting this team and they desperately need him to show up.
Daniels also started the game off strong, sinking a 3-pointer and had a tip-in, but disappeared down the stretch other than a huge block in the second half. This was a off night for DeAndre, who has been one of the most consistent players not named Lamb, Napier, or Olander. Roscoe Smith was coming into this game on a high note and it looked to be continuing, nailing an in-rhythm 3-pointer, had a block and a sweet turnaround jumper, but then the wheels fell off in the second half, missing a 3-pointer, having 3 turnovers, and missing the front end of a 1 and 1. Olander also had a fast start. He is turning into a nice passer, 4 assists, and is consistently hitting the 15-footer, but couldn’t find any offense in the second half. Giffey and Allen both got into the game but didn’t do much.
This team is a bit in flux with inconsistencies across the board among the frontcourt. With little help there, any flaws in the backcourt's play gets magnified and with Napier and Lamb turning the ball over 8 times and playing one-on-one basketball, it let a less talented squad hang around. Luckily they made the plays to shut each UNC-Asheville run, but it is far from a convincing win that this team is top echelon and deserving of a number four ranking. They certainly have the talent to warrant that ranking but their play hasn’t. They need to clean up these flaws, play more fundamental half court sets, and not fall in love with the jumper.