Thursday, February 28, 2013

Utter Shame

It was a strange game.  Both teams traded jabs early on, exchanging baskets, but it the defenses were on full display and muddied up the game.  Points were hard to come by as the first half came to a close with UConn holding onto a small three point lead.  Georgetown came out of the gates hot in the second half, knocking down three after three and at one point hit 8 of 9 from deep.  With Napier on the bench, the Hoyas surged to a double digit lead and things looked dire for the Huskies.  But like they have done all year, they dug down deep and fought back, hitting clutch shot after clutch shot and winning the fifty-fifty balls.  Tying the game up with seconds left in regulation on a Calhoun 3-pointer, UConn had Georgetown right where they wanted them, overtime.  They both had a hard time finding points in the first overtime, trading a couple of baskets with neither team able to stretch the lead to two possessions and settled for the tie.  In the second overtime, UConn sprang out to an early lead and rode some deep shots by Daniels and Napier and added in some free throws from Giffey, but couldn’t sustain it, succumbing to the pressure of the moment.  They turned the ball over in key spots which Georgetown took advantage of and knocked down two consecutive 3-pointers to get within one.  Again UConn turned the ball over and allowed Porter to get a great look at the basket, which he knocked down with seconds left.  Boatright dribbled into trouble and put up a desperation shot that ended UConn’s hopes at the upset and possibly any shot at the Big East regular season title.

Napier had a slow start again but picked it up in the second half with an early lay-up, but twisted his ankle on the play.  He came back, hitting 3-pointers and finding ways to get into the lane and dish to others, but he wasn't himself.  He was clutch in overtime with two 3-pointers, one in both overtimes, but his turnovers, 4, came at the wrong time and gave Georgetown easy points. He also settled for the 3-ball too much, 11 of his 16 attempts.  A lot of that had to do with Georgetown's defense, but he never turned the corner and applied pressure.

Boatright had a nice steal and lay-up to begin the game, but again struggled to keep a handle on the basketball.  He dribbled way too much and had a hard time penetrating with the basketball.   He missed a crucial one and one opportunity and his end of game situations were less then desirable. He did have 8 assists to his 4 turnovers, but his 1 free throw attempt in this game isn't enough.  He needs to find ways of dribbling north to south instead of around the hedges and into traps. Calhoun had a masterful game.  He rebounded extremely well, blocked shots, made plays all around the rim, hit three 3-pointers with one tying it up with seconds left in regulation.  His confidence is sky high right now and is only missing a dribble drive to his game which will get him to the line more than his 1 attempt in this game.

Daniels has emerged as an NBA talent.  He does it all.  He is rebounding much better, has an above the rim game, blocks shots, gets to the line, knocks down 3-pointers, floaters, in-bound lay-ups, and plays great defense.  He hasn’t even filled out yet.  He’s the best wing player UConn has had since Rudy Gay and put on a show against Georgetown, dropping a monster double-double with 25 points and 10 rebound.  Giffey was enormous in this game.  He played three positions, had the task of guarding the Big East Player of the Year, and also chipped in offensively.  Like Calhoun, he is playing with a ton of confidence lately.  His numbers don't jump off the page but he did a little of everything from blocks, steals, rebounding, and knocking down clutch free throws.

Olander played well early with a dunk and a lay-up but couldn’t defend without fouling, picking up his fourth foul with fifteen minutes to go in the second half.   He only managed 11 minutes.  Not good.  Nolan came in and did an admirable job, considering the amount of experience he has.  He showed some offensive skills with a nice double-move lay-up and got to the line.  He’s played better in each of his outings. Kevin Ollie moved Daniels to the 5 spot, leaving UConn's bigs on the bench.  They only played a combined 25 minutes. Evans had a nice transition lay-up, a rebound, and an assist but that was about it.

This was a heartbreaker and hopefully it doesn’t carry over into the next game against Cincinnati.  They put so much effort in this game, clawing their way back to tie it up, holding a seven point lead to only see it wither away in the waning seconds.  With Georgetown sitting all alone in first place with only three games left, UConn's chances at a regular season title are gone.  This group of kids deserves better than to see it abruptly come to a halt.  They weren't the ones responsible for the low APR, but they are the ones penalized.  If the NCAA wants to hurt the University then hit them in the wallet or take away the money they would've gotten from the tournament games, but this team deserves to play a postseason and the NCAA with their uneven treatment of the rules are hurting the innocent here.  It's an utter shame.

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