Monday, February 11, 2013

Digging Out

It was a game of runs and UConn was the first to strike.  They did it on the backs of Calhoun and Daniels again.  Unlike the previous couple of games, the Huskies were able to get their transition game going early and their lay-ups were finally dropping. Seton Hall then turned the tables and momentum switched courts in the blink of an eye as the Pirates turned UConn over and converted on the other end. The Huskies who were in control for much of the first half found themselves in familiar territory lately, down at halftime.  The Pirates continued the attack early in the second half, knocking down jumpers and carving up UConn’s pick and roll defense.  Like everyone else dealing with the blizzard, UConn had to pull out the shovels and dig themselves out and they did it on the defensive end.  They used the sloppy Seton Hall ball handling and which fueled the fast break and UConn soared ahead for good never looking back. This was a total team effort.  Everyone contributed from Giffey, Evans, Wolf, Daniels, and Calhoun.  They each took over in stretches and pulled out a tough win on the road, something this team struggled with last year.

Napier had a slow start, hitting just two jumpers in the first half, though he did a good job of vacillating the offense.  He did most of the damage in the second half.  He knocked down a couple of jumpers, some lay-ups, but did his most damage on defense, snagging 6 steals that extended UConn’s runs.  He did a solid job of getting to the line and not being 3-point happy, only taking 4 attempts. Other than the turnovers, he had an excellent game and needs to remain involved like he was here for them to have a shot against Syracuse.

Boatright had a fantastic game, bouncing back from a poor showing in his last couple of games.  He only took 9 shots but made those count.  His day started out slow with making a 3-ball and one in the first half, and then started the second half with three horrible turnovers.   He kept battling hard though and was rewarded with 10 trips to the line and knocked them all down.  He also added another 3-pointer and a highlight slam.  Calhoun came out of the gate strong, knocking down a 3-pointer, played stout defense, and had 2 lay-ups.  His second half wasn’t as pretty, turning the ball over and taking a bad shot early in the shot clock but late in the game.  He's had two great starts in a row but hasn't been able to sustain it throughout the game.

Daniels had a quiet day.  He only made 3 out of 10 shots with those being a lay-up, a slam, and a jumper.  He needs to do a better job on the glass though, only getting 4. This is a totally different team when he is near double digits in rebounding. Giffey had a tough task of guarding Fuquan Edwin who was all over the court.  Niels did hit an early 3-pointer and had an and-one on a lay-up, but turned the ball over 4 times.  He needs to do a better job of handling the basketball because his turnovers seem to always lead to points on the other end.  Evans returned to form with those pesky lay-ups that have been eluding him lately.

Olander had a good start, knocking down a hook shot, but struggled from there on out with only a lay-up as his only other points.  He finished with just 2 rebounds and that is not going to cut it.  Wolf also struggled to rebound, but was hustling out there even getting into defensive position for a charge.  Nolan got some playing time and had a turnover. The front court didn't show up for this game and luckily it didn't cost them.  Ollie doesn't need a dominant performance out of this group.  He just needs them to hover around 7 boards each and they aren't even close to that.

This was an important game for UConn.  They needed to wash the taste of the St. John’s game out and this win did just that.  They’ll need to play a much more controlled game against Syracuse.  If they come out with the sloppy ball handling that they displayed against the Hall then it will be over quickly.  Ollie has them playing hard though and they'll have a great chance at the upset versus the Orange, but they'll need 40 whole minutes of basketball to do that and its been a long time since they did that.

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