Friday, February 7, 2014

Slipping Away

It is really tough to get a road win in college basketball and UConn found that out the hard way.  They started out well and spread the scoring around from Kromah, Giffey, Boatright, and Napier all chipping in, but they just couldn’t sustain it.  Defensively, they didn’t have an answer for Kilpatrick or Patrick.  They combined for 41 points, 15 for 25 from the field, and 18 boards.  Without Daniels playing, nursing back spasms, the pressure was on Napier and Boatright to carry them to the finish line and they just couldn’t do it.  Cincinnati began to take over the pace and UConn forced shots, turned the ball over that led directly to points, and the Bearcats made some tough shots.  Ollie needs to tip his cap and move on from this one.

Napier flat out struggled.  It looked like he was going to light it up, hitting his first deep shot of the game, but only sank two more jumpers all game.  He went 2 of 12 from deep and only had 3 assists.  He tends to get in a jump shooting mode and tries to shoot himself out of it instead of adjusting and attacking the basket more.  Chalk this one up to an off night, but he needs to find ways to get to the line more and he couldn’t do that.

Boatright was nursing a sore shoulder and it might have affected his game because other than that late 3-pointer, his shots were off.  He had a hard time creating his own offense and besides that first half stretch where he made a lay-up, got to the line, and sank a jumper, he struggled to find consistency.  He’s been in a mini-rut lately and this team needs him to be a bit more consistent.

Kromah was the best player on the court for UConn and while that’s great for Kromah its not a good sign for UConn.  He made five lay-ups and a jumper while also contributing on the boards and playing solid defense.  Where would this team be without his impact? Giffey had a great first half but once again disappeared in the second half with only two trips to the line, which he only hit 2 of 4, as his only second half points.  Calhoun had another rough game.  He did make a slight impact in the second half with a jumper and two offensive rebounds but his shots are all over the rim.  Samuel got some minutes in the first half and had a turnover and a lay-up.  Ollie is getting more comfortable in putting him in some pressure situations.

Brimah had a productive performance.  He found ways to get to the line, blocked shots, and had a nice offensive rebound and dunk. He has these flashes during games that make your mouth water at his overall potential.  Nolan couldn’t defend without fouling and his footwork needs to improve.  He found himself with two early fouls and each time he was out there he was called for another.  Olander had a rebound in six minutes and Facey had one in his two minutes.  This group was a big fat no show in this game and had no answer on how to defend Patrick.

While this loss is disappointing, there is no shame in it.  They were short handed and their major weapon, their jump shots, weren’t dropping.  They still were right in this game down the stretch.  The only disconcerting aspect was their inability to adjust when they knew that their jumpers weren’t there for them.  That’s a recipe for an early exit in the tournament.  They’ll need to dust themselves off because they have a short turnaround against and a long road trip to UCF for a rematch.  One thing we know so far under this Kevin Ollie regime is that he’ll have this team ready after a loss.

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