Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Napier was unconscious. He hit five 3-pointers, a jumper, 2 lay-ups, snagged 7 boards and made 4 free throws. He had everything working tonight and looked aggressive right from the start which is what he needs to do more of. The only negative aspect to his game was that he was still a little jump shot happy and didn’t play a more north-south game, but when his jumper is red hot like it was that’s like picking flaws on a super model.
This is the DeAndre Daniels that UConn needs every game. He looked for his shot and banged around in the paint. The outside shot will always be there for him, but his game is fueled by his ability to rebound and he snagged 12 boards with 5 of those offensive. Like Napier, his jumper was on fire and he hit 4 of 6 from deep, but it was his driving lay-ups and plays around the rim that was more impressive. His next step is to play like this against the zone.
Giffey got the start for Boatright and it forced him to take more shots. He made a couple of 3-pointers, a driving lay-up, 5 boards, and 3 steals. His defense was a bit spotty and he got an earful of Kevin Ollie a few times on the bench, but his aggressiveness on the offensive end was great to see. Calhoun had an early turnover but then hit a 3-pointer and added a lay-up. He is still struggling and only played 14 minutes, one less then Samuel. Terrence finally got to play some consistent minutes but had several travel calls. He still continued to attack the rim and got a lay-up to drop. Maybe he was trying too hard, but this wasn’t his best performance.
Brimah had an off game and had a hard time gathering rebounds, only 1 in his 13 minutes. He did get a hook shot to drop and had a dunk on a nice pass from Napier, but it was step back for him. Nolan played 17 minutes and had 3 boards, hit a hook shot, and sank a free throw. Olander had 3 minutes in the first half and made a hustle play but other than that he was a no show. Facey played 6 minutes and grabbed an offensive rebound but struggled defending. This group provided UConn with 7 points and 5 boards. That’s not getting it done, despite Ollie using a smaller line-up, and they need to do a much better job.
This ended up looking more like an exhibition game for UConn and while they should enjoy the win, they need to put this one behind them, because those jumpers won’t continue to drop like they were and they’ll need to continue to be aggressive and attack the rim. At times this team falls in love with the outside shot and doesn’t utilize their true weapon, the free throw line. If they begin attacking the rim more, it will sustain those droughts that have caused them so much trouble. But for now they have evened up their conference standings and now must face a scrappy Rutgers team. If they have any hopes of climbing out of the middle of this pack then they need to win these games.