Friday, November 15, 2013

Titanic Blowout

UConn hosted Detroit at the comfy confines of Gampel Pavilion and the upstart Titans came ready to play.  Behind Juwan Howard Jr., Detroit grabbed an early lead, but UConn’s incredible outside shooting, 11 of 19 from deep, blew the doors off of the Titans and they never looked back.  This soon became an old fashioned beat down and everything seemed to work. They out-rebounded Detroit by 15, held them to just 30.4% shooting, shot 28 free throws to Detroit’s 15, and lived in the paint, scoring 30 points.  This was a total team win and everyone contributed from Napier’s rebounding, Boatright’s fastbreaks, to Giffey & Calhoun’s incredible shooting, Detroit had no answer.

Napier had another masterful performance and did a little of everything in the first half with two offensive rebounds, getting steals, and got to the line.  It wasn’t until the second half that his jumper started to fall, hitting a 3-pointer.  He has also led by example in regards to rebounding, and had a game high 8 boards.  He’s really maturing into an all-around point guard.

Boatright had a slow offensive game with only two lay-ups, a steal, two free throws, and two 3-pointers, with one of those at the first half buzzer.  With his dribbling skills and the new rules, he should be living at the line and he only took two free throws the entire game. He needs to attack the rim more and draw contact. Calhoun carried UConn in the first half.  He had three 3-pointers, with one of them very deep as the shot clock wound down, a jumper, a lay-up, and found ways to get to the line.  He’s returned to form faster than anticipated and is beginning to play more north and south and is hovering around the paint more which is a great sign.

Daniels’ poor performance against Yale carried over into this one and he gave a foul in the first couple of seconds which set the tone for the rest of the first half.  He missed easy lay-ups and he visibly looked frustrated.  He finally came around in the second half with a block, a 3-pointer, a dunk, a lay-up, got to the line, and had an offensive rebound & tip in.  He only played 15 minutes in this game and had 4 rebounds.  Hopefully his second half burst will break him out of his slump.

Giffey remained red hot offensively.  He ran the floor well for a lay-up, hit three 3-pointers, a block, and got to the line.  Like his other two games this season, he couldn’t muster up the same success in the second half.  He ended up with a couple of offensive rebounds but no points, but it is hard to remember another UConn player having a start to the season like he has.  Kromah had two lay-ups, missed an one and one opportunity, but still provided plenty of energy off the bench.  Samuel had two lay-ups and a turnover.  He needs to do a much better job at the free throw line, hitting just 2 of 5.

Nolan had two lay-ups and just two rebounds in his 16 minutes.  He needs to produce more than that.  Brimah also struggled on the boards with just 2 in his 14 minutes, but contributed with a baby hook, back to back blocks, and a dunk.  While his shot-blocking is making a difference, this team needs him to rebound better.  Olander came into the game with 10-minutes left to play.  He found ways to get to the line where he is a great free throw shooter, hitting 5 of 5.  He is still too 3-point happy and needs to play in that 10 to 15 foot range, but he is making an impact whenever he gets on the floor which is a drastic improvement.

Facey did a masterful job on the boards, getting 7 rebounds in 12 minutes.  He didn’t shoot the ball that much, but he didn’t need to.   Tolksdorf had a great game too with two lay-ups, a steal, and had two rebounds in his 10 minutes of play.  Watts came in during garbage time and did have a lay-up and a steal.

This was a great bounce back game from Yale. The rebounding looked much better, even though the big men still struggled to rebound.  The guards are packing in the paint and helping out on th boards instead of leaking out, which is helping them tremendously.   The outside shooting is just unconscious right now and if they keep this up, they will break some major UConn records.  It was on the defensive side of the ball that they needed to improve the most.  They were sending opponents to the line way too much and they did a great job of curbing their fouls.  This was a great growth game for UConn and hopefully this team continues to improve on their weaker areas.

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