Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Triple Threat

UConn and Yale played a rare weekday afternoon game in Hartford and both teams came out of the gate sluggish.  Like the Maryland game, UConn used some great perimeter shooting to create a double digit lead and held onto a pesky Yale squad that made just enough runs to make Ollie feel uncomfortable.  The Huskies didn’t have an answer for Justin Sears, who out-hustled UConn’s big men for 8 offensive rebounds and 13 trips to the line.  For much of the game, both teams were even on the boards, but Yale took control and out rebounded UConn by 12 with the real damage on the offensive boards where Yale grabbed an amazing 22 offensive rebounds.  They scored 16 second chance points in the second half alone.  But UConn had too much offense for Yale to match, especially when they weren’t knocking down 3-pointers, and UConn held onto their double digit lead until the end.

Napier had a fantastic game and had a triple double, the last triple double since the one he had against Coppin State.  His first half started by attacking the offensive glass for a rebound, he had four assists in a row and then added three more on top of that, a lay-up, and a steal.  His well-rounded game kept pace in the second half with a two jumpers, two offensive rebounds, a 3-pointer and two more assists.  He has been rebounding the ball really well and he’s seeing the court and not turning the ball over that had plagued his previous seasons.  This was the Napier everyone was waiting for and hopefully will in the future.

Boatright had a rough first half and had one assist, two turnovers, and a steal.  He had a much better second half with two steals, a lay-up, got to the line and made his free throws, and hit two 3-pointers.  He’s not shooting the ball that well in this early season and but he is getting to the line which means he’s being aggressive.  That’s a good sign.  Calhoun had his best outing of this short season.  He had two lay-ups, three 3-pointers, a block, and the best sign of them all was his seven trips to the line.  He did have some sloppy turnovers late in the game but his game is slowly coming back to form.

The big story of the day was the absence of Daniels.  His no show today on the boards allowed Yale to crawl back into this game.  Hopefully this was an anomaly for him, because this team needs Daniels to compete at a high level.  He ended the game with a rebound, a turnover, and a block.  Not good.  Giffey on the other hand remained red hot from behind the arch.  He has finally found out that he’s a fantastic spot up shooter, knocking down four 3-pointers in a row and added another one late in the first half, but just like the Maryland game, he disappeared in the second half.  He needs to find a way to make an impact in that second period to help stem these offense droughts this team is going through in midway through the second half.

Kromah had two lay-ups, an offensive rebound, a steal, a turnover, and some nice passes.  He adds instant energy off the bench and this team needed it with little coming from Daniels and Boatright early.  Samuel had tough game with a turnover, a couple of nice assists, and a lay-up in his limited minutes.  He seems to have a good demeanor despite his limited role which shows his maturity for a freshman.

Nolan had a good first half on the offensive end, getting two dunks and a jumper, but he needs to do much better on the boards than one rebound in 13 minutes.  This team needs more from him. Once again Brimah’s height caused issues for opponents.  He had two blocks in the first half and five in the second.  He also added three dunks.  Like Nolan, he needs to do better on the rebounding end.  He can’t play 24 minutes and only get one rebound.  That’s not getting it done.  Olander was coming off a terrific game against Maryland but only played 2 minutes with no effect on the game.  Facey finally got into the game and found a way to get to the foul line right away, but then struggled to defend without fouling.  He was called for three quick fouls in the second half and found himself back on the bench.  This group needs to do a much better job on rebounding.  Whoever can come out of this group and get boards will get the minutes no matter what else they bring to the table and none of them did that.

This team looked to have turned the corner on the rebounding department against Maryland, but then they took a step back against a scrappy Yale team.  It is still early and Daniels isn’t going to have many games like this one and the players like Nolan, Brimah and Facey are getting settled. These are the type of games UConn will be playing for the next couple of weeks because the young players tend to be a bit inconsistent and until they begin to figure it out, they’ll get these inconsistent performances.  So it is up to the veteran players like Napier, Boatright, Giffey, and Olander to create that consistency.  If they don’t then it could be a Topsy-Turvy season.


Matias Nino said...

So nice to see UConn back in the blocking department. Amida's upside is tremendous and at this point I'm hoping he won't get snatched by the NBA in the spring.

The Shabazz-Neils pick and roll was beautiful to watch. What a weapon!

I'm really hoping Ryan gets his dribbling under control and works on his J's. With his athleticism there's no reason he can't pull out multiple Kemba-like J's each game. Looks like he was a big target for double-teaming this game so that definitely needs to be considered.

Looking forward to watching these boys gel and grow!

David Gillett said...

Totally agree. Brimah adds a dimension that UConn hadn't had since Okwandu or Thabeet. He needs to add some weight before NBA teams pick him up. He'd be out muscled on the block. Ryan needs to attack and get to the line. That's his strength and the new rules will help him there. The pick and roll is working offensively but it is how they are defending it that is the biggest change this year. Last year it killed this team. Thanks for the read.