UConn got off to a fast start, hitting 6 of 6 from deep, and riding a red hot shooting Lamb. They built up a 24 point lead by keeping Melvin in check and protecting the perimeter while getting easy looks at the basket, but it didn’t last. UConn once again went into an offensive malaise and the defense followed suit. DePaul took advantage and began getting easy lay-ups which gave them enough confidence to start hitting threes. UConn couldn’t defend without fouling and began sending DePaul to the line for easy points. It was just sloppy and instead of feeling confident about a blow out win, there is that uneasy feeling about something plaguing this team.
Lamb played out of his mind early on, hitting everything. Once the lead was extended to 24, Lamb went into a shell. He needs to be more vocal in getting the ball and when he does get it, he needs to be more careful with it. He had four turnovers. He did rebound the basketball much better, ending his day with five boards. Its that daze in the second half that this team desperately needs him to make a play to wake them up.
Napier was coming off one of his best games of the year but found himself in foul trouble for much of the game. He never had a rhythm to his game, playing 16 minutes, but he was effective when he was in. He did a great job of finding his teammates for easy scores, especially against DePaul’s pressure defense. He wasn’t looking for his shot and only took 3 field goal attempts. Boatright had a good game and was able to break the press on numerous occasions for easy buckets. He shot the ball well from deep and at the line. He did have a few costly turnovers in DePaul’s run to get back into the game and he needs to work on his court vision, missing some wide open teammates for easy scores, but it was an overall good outing. He seems to feel more comfortable playing with Napier on the court, because as soon as Napier picked up his fourth foul, UConn's offense went into the tank.
Drummond had a rough going offensively. He did have a couple of dunks, but struggled mightily at the line. He had one of his worst rebounding games in over a month, ending with only 5, which might be the reason why his offense was floundering. His game is dependent on his ability to get boards. He did protect the rim and had four blocks. It has been awhile since Oriakhi outplayed Drummond, but he did. He was able to get to the line, rebound the ball much better, and had 4 blocks. This is back-to-back solid games for him and he is playing well at the right time. This team needs this type of rebounding from him throughout the rest of the year. Olander played 3 minutes and had a board.
Roscoe Smith hasn’t cooled off yet. He hit two 3-pointers, had a team high 8 rebounds, got to the line, had a block, and didn’t have a turnover. His activity is the missing ingredient to this team and might be that glue that they need to make some waves going forward. Daniels played four minutes and had 2 rebounds, which is a great sign. Giffey had a good game. He had two nice lay-ups, had a good block, and two boards. He doesn't have confidence in his outside shot and is hesitant to pull the trigger.
They are not going to beat better teams with the second half lapses that they have shown game after game. They need better focus on getting good possessions and play much better transition defense. Giving up these late leads are a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once a team goes on a run, which most teams no matter how bad they are will do, they begin to play flustered and either rush shots or play hesitant and force up garbage at the end of the shot clock. It then begins to snowball. It is at those spots in the game that they need Lamb to make a play and he needs to know that. If they don’t figure it out how to seize the momentum back then they’ll be leaving the Big Apple earlier then they want to.