A look at the good, bad and ugly of UConn’s 75-55 victory over the University of Central Florida Sunday night:
WHAT WORKED WELL
- PAINT POWER: The Huskies improved to 12-0 when they out rebound the opposition after topping UCF 42-31 there. Three Huskies: DeAndre Daniels (5 offensibe), Shabazz Napier and Lasan Kromah each had seven boards. UConn also shined in paint points with a 48-26 advantage, which was a 24-10 edge in the first half.
UConn coach Kevin Ollie’s take: “The key is rebounding – we got 18 offensive rebounds, that’s going to always help you. I think we established ourselves in the paint. I believe we got 48 points in the paint, so that’s terrific.”
2.BIG D DELIVERS: UCF’s star Isaiah Sykes scored 10 points in the first 10 minutes, but only ended up with 17 for the game. The Knights shot 39.2 percent as a team and committed 18 turnovers, which UConn turned into 19 points. Shabazz Napier made two consecutive steals in the second half to killed the Knights’ momentum after they cut the lead to 57-49.
Ollie’s take: “Overall, we played good defense. We got them under 39 percent shooting. I think they were shooting about 50 percent in the second half and then we shut them down again. Bazz was great on the ball pressure and I think that’s what kind of turned the momentum around in the second half. And that’s what he can do. He’s a great leader and he made us composed when we got down. They hit a 3, I believe Wilson hit a 3 and put them to 10 or 9, and then we got two quick steals. I’m very pleased I got Bazz on my side, but also pleased with the composure we had.”
3.SHARING THE WEATH: For the first time since a non-league game in December the Huskies put five players in double figures scoring, led by Lasan Kromah and Napier with 17. DeAndre Daniels added 16, Ryan Boatright 11 and Phil Nolan had 10.
Ollie’s take: “We had five guys in double figures, I don’t think we’ve had that since Eastern Washington. I’m very pleased with the total effort of the team.”
Kromah’s take: “We just tried to be aggressive. The last game we settled a little bit with 3-pointers. We were really aggressive on offense and tried to get a lot of rebounds to get easy baskets on the fast break.”
4. PHIL-LING IT UP: Freshman Amida Brimah was not able to duplicate his 20-point, 8-rebound performance from the first meeting with UCF, but sophomore center Phil Nolan turned in a solid night with 10 points, four rebounds and a block in his place.
Ollie’s take: “Amida has to stay on the court, but I was very pleased with Phillip. He went in 5-for-5, giving us that balanced that we need down low and I thought he did a terrific job. Thirty minutes, I imagine that’s his season high, career high, so I’m very proud of his effort also.”
WHAT NEEDS WORK
- YOU GOT TO PLAY 40: With a sizeable double-digit lead, the Huskies got a little sloppy in the second half and allowed big Justin
McBride (13 second-half points) and the Knights to make an 18-8 run that cut it to 57-49 with 7:21 left.
Ollie’s take: “In the second half we got sloppy, got a little complacent and turned the ball over. But then we composed ourselves, got some good looks in the zone, and overall, I was pleased. We’ve been on the road for a long time and I give these guys credit.”
2. TOO GENEROUS: Nine assists in the first half was a good sign, but the team only ended up with 11 for the game to go with 14 turnovers (7 per half). Overall the Huskies did a better job spread the ball around, but some of Napier’s passes had a little too much spice on them for his teammates to handle.
Ollie’s take: “Yeah it was a big factor. We had nine assists in the first half and I think we ended up with 11, which I’m not happy about, but the nine assists in that run it was terrific. They started sharing the basketball, getting the ball ahead and not settling. I thought they took what we were trying to teach in practice and brought it to the game.”
Ollie’s overall assessment of the game:
“The game was good. We started out in the first half playing UConn basketball. I think it was 18-17 and the last 10 minutes we went on a 24-6 run and that’s what we are capable of doing.
Ollie on 6-foot-10, 310-plus-pound McBride, who owned the paint for 13 minutes in the second half and fired up the crowd, who chanted “Feed McBride:
“He’s a load down there and we got to get in front of him. And then they were coming off the pick and roll, getting it in there for him, but we got to push them out. We have to do a better job facing guys like that and we have to do a better job in the paint.”
Sophomore Omar Calhoun logged just seven minutes, and spent much of the second half with trainer James Doran monitoring him on the bench.
“He got banged up, he was seeing some stars a little bit,” Ollie said.