Monday, November 18, 2013

The Haunting

It looked like another blowout for UConn as they jumped out to an early ten to nothing lead and even grew it to nineteen at one point, but they couldn’t finish out the half.  Boston University cashed in on almost every 50/50 ball, long rebound, and UConn’s one handed attempts at corralling rebounds.  The upstart BU squad ended the half with a 15 to 2 run and got within arms length of what seemed like an insurmountable UConn lead.  The Terriers carried the momentum into the second half and took an early lead, but credit UConn; They handled the adversity and immediately took control of the game and the boards, and it also helped that BU became ice cold down the stretch.  The Huskies rebuilt the lead and cruised home for the victory.

Napier had another slow start.  Other than a steal, an offensive & several defensive rebounds, and a nice assist, he was quiet.  He came to life in the second half with an early trip to the foul line off a steal, had two 3-pointers, two offensive rebounds with one leading to a tip in, and found ways to get to the line.  He did have a few sloppy turnovers late in the ball game and needs to stop with the nifty behind the back passes.  Once again he lead the team in rebounds, 12, which is a good and bad sign.  It’s great that he’s sticking his nose in there, but others need to step up and help out more.

Boatright had his game working right away with a a lay-up on a fast break, a jumper, got to the line where he sank 2 free throws, hit two 3-pointers, and played solid defense.  His second half was highlighted by a sweet baseline dunk, but he also had a nice jumper, skied for a rebound, and went 1 for 2 from the line.  Like Napier, he was a bit sloppy on defense and had a bad turnover late in the second half.  Overall, it was a good game for him and he has been pretty consistent for this team, although he needs to get to the line more than four times.

This is the DeAndre Daniels UConn fans expected to see.  His entire arsenal was working.  He started by getting to the line and sinking some free throws.  That gave him the confidence because after that it was the Daniels show.  He hit a turnaround, had a nice cut to the rim for a lay-up, a deep jumper that beat the shot clock, an elbow jumper, and a sweet push shot and that was just the first half.  He started the second half with an elbow jumper, a 3-pointer, a highlight of the game sky-high dunk, a turnaround floater & 1, and an 18-foot jumper.  The only thing lacking from him in this game was his rebounding.  He only grabbed three boards and had trouble snagging the ball with both hands.

Giffey did hit his first shot of the game but was quiet after that.   He played some bad defense, missed on an one-and-one opportunity, and had a turnover.  Calhoun also had an off night.  He had a hustle board and a 3-pointer but also had a bad pass.  It isn’t going to be too often that these two players will be this quiet, though with Daniels on fire and taking 18 attempts, Calhoun and Giffey only took seven shots total.  Kromah had a bad pass, a nice deflection, a 3-pointer, and a floater.  He adds that energy off the bench which will pay dividends down the stretch of the season. Facey got in and had two fouls in two minutes.

Nolan did a good job on the boards, getting 5, but he left a ton of boards on the floor because he had trouble getting two hands on those long rebounds.  He also struggled getting anything going offensively, getting a travel call because of poor foot work, and missed an easy opportunity on an offensive put-back.  Brimah had two early blocks, but picked up his second foul pretty early.  He made a nice impact in the second half with two offensive rebound put-backs with one leading to an & 1 which he calmly sank. Unfortunately those were his only two rebounds of the game.  Olander came in and made an instant impact with an offensive rebound put-back & 1 which he made, had two more offensive rebounds where he was fouled on one and had a tip-in on the other.  Like Brimah, those were his only rebounds. It isn’t good that your three centers combined for nine rebounds while your point guard grabbed 12.

It wasn’t a perfect forty minutes of basketball, but this team showed that they could handle the adversity of losing a comfortable lead and seize back the momentum to win a game.  The consistency in rebounding continues to haunt this team, but also the perimeter defense took a step back. There were too many open shooters and if BU remained hot down the stretch, this game could’ve turned out different.  There needs to be more of a conscious effort to put a hand up on a jump shooter.  This team still has tremendous opportunity for growth and it is going through some growing pains with some of their frontcourt players.  In time the rebounding should solidify more, but there is no excuse for this experienced backcourt to not play perimeter defense better.  They have been lucky so far that teams have been cold down the stretch of ballgames.  It could haunt them heading forward.

No comments: