Sure Napier wasn’t scoring points, but unlike other games, he was contributing in other ways. He was getting others involved with great passes, was the best rebounder on the team which is a bit disconcerting, and he was playing ball hawking defense, snatching 4 steals. Other than just 6 points, this is the Napier we are used to seeing. He needs to be more of a floor general than what he has shown in prior games and he really limited his turnovers.
Boatright turned around his poor shooting from the N.C. State game and came out on fire, hitting those mid-ranged shots that he needs to his game. He still took a bit too many 3-pointers, 5 of his 11 shots, and needs to get to the line more than he has, just one attempt. He has the speed to beat his defenders and the strength to play through contact. Calhoun had a freshman like game. He couldn’t find the bottom of the basket, missing all his shots, didn’t get to the line, had 3 horrible turnovers, and could only contribute on the boards and defense. Fans need patience with him. He’s playing primarily in the three guard lineup and isn’t the primary ball handler. He only has a limited amount of plays to make his impact offensively and those aren’t dropping for him right now.
This game belonged to DeAndre Daniels. He played a career game. It started with a few lay-ups and he started getting confidence in his game. He soon was hitting outside shots and getting to the line. This could be the breakout game that he had shown glimpses of in the pre-season. He’s got such a well rounded game right now and he still has a lot more room to grow. Giffey had a strange game. He struggled in the first half to find his rhythm, but book ended UConn’s run that sealed the game with two rare dunks. He still needs to rebound better, just one.
Wolf deserved the start and got the team started with easy baskets but then disappeared. He struggled defensively in the is game and was afraid of creating contact defensively. He needs to use his 7-1 frame to clog up those driving lanes and send some of those slashing guards to the line instead of easy lay-ups. He also didn’t get a single rebound all game which is unacceptable. Olander matched Wolf’s play with 4 points but at least he had 2 boards. R.J. Evans only played 7 minutes and only managed a personal foul. He couldn’t find those patented lay-ups that he has been able to show in his limited minutes.
This is what this team is. They are a team that is going to give their opponents more rebounds, no matter size, athleticism, or talent. If they are going to counteract that rebounding margin then they need to create more possessions by winning the turnover battle. In the end it is all about possessions and UConn won that battle getting 3 more looks at the basket than Harvard. It should have been more, but this team is still searching for the right combination of consistent role players and it seems to shift in and every game. Until they can find some bench consistency then they are going to have games like this. So take a deep breath, put on some easy listening music, because this UConn team is going to be in tight ball games for much of this season.