UConn Basketball

with Kevin Duffy

Battle 4 Atlantis Semifinal: UCF vs. UConn

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Very quick turnaround for the Huskies.

They’ll play in the first slot Friday at 2 p.m. against the University of Central Florida, a 74-63 winner over College of Charleston on Thursday.

Marcus Jordan (AP)

You’ve probably heard of UCF junior  Marcus Jordan, son of the one and only Michael Jordan. Marcus, a well-built 6-foot-3 guard, is the team’s leading returning scorer. He had 17 points Thursday. MJ’s other son, Jeff Jordan, is on the team, as well.

Here’s the skinny on the Knights: They’re big. Forward Keith Clanton (6-foot-9, 245 pounds) went for 28 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks against Charleston. And it doesn’t stop with him. The Knights just keep rolling out big guys: Back-up center Josh Crittle is 6-foot-9, 260; starting center Dwight McCombs is 6-foot-8, 235; and reserve forwards Tristan Spurlock (6-foot-8, 230) and P.J. Gaynor (6-foot-8, 220) are thick and athletic, too.

Thus far, UConn has played undersized teams that try to spread the floor and make the Huskies go small. The Knights, who held a 44-25 rebounding edge on COC, will likely do the opposite. One area of concern for UCF: It shot just 13-for-27 from the free throw line Thursday.

“I heard that they’re alot bigger team,” said UConn freshman Andre Drummond. “I’ve been really looking forward to playing bigger, stronger teams so we can really show who we are.”

In previous games, it’s been difficult for Drummond and Alex Oriakhi to be on the court together. Perhaps playing against an equally physical team will be the cure for Oriakhi’s slump (he’s put up four points and two boards in each of the last two games).

“When you see matchups with five guys who can go by us, you can’t really play them both,” said coach Jim Calhoun. “These games are not really fair to (Oriakhi) to some degree. Tomorrow night might be a little fairer.”

Drummond will get the start again, Calhoun said. He also added that Oriakhi “has a tough guy to beat out.”

Who knows if Oriakhi will return to the starting lineup? But, whether he’s coming off the bench or not, UConn will need his presence against physical teams like UCF.

Tip is set for 2 p.m. on the Versus channel.

Categories: General

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