Report card: UConn starting to click on offense going into AAC play

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry for the late report card post, but a 13 month old was keeping me busy this morning!)

A look at the good, the bad and the ugly from Sunday’s 81-48 win by UConn over Central Connecticut State at the XL Center in Hartford. The Huskies (6-4) won consecutive games for the first time since last month’s Puerto Rico Tip-off and open American Athletic Conference play against Temple on New Year’s Eve riding a two-game win streak.

WHAT WORKED

1.LOCKING IT DOWN: Coach Kevin Ollie talked about how important defense was to the Huskies’ championship run last season and this squad flashed what it’s capable of doing after the game was tied at 20 midway through the first half. CCSU scored just three points in the final 10:03 of the first half and UConn went on a 37-5 run, which carried over into the second half, to take a 57-25 lead with 14:35 to play.

CCSU coach Howie Dickenman: “When you go 17 minutes and you get one field goal, you now you’re going to be in trouble.”

2. SPREADING THE WEALTH: The offensive changes the Huskies battled earlier in the season seem to be a distant memory. Five players scored in double figures – led by Ryan Boatright’s 18 – for the first time this season and Rodney Purvis netted his second straight double-digit game. UConn shot 53.3 percent from the field – its second straight game over 50 percent – and was 12-for-13 at the foul line.

Boatright’s take: “The confidence is just rising. We are sharing the basketball. The chemistry is there and we are knocking down shots. Any time you can do that it’s going to help the team.”

3. DOUBLE TROUBLE: Sophomores Amida Brimah (12 points, two blocks) and Kentan Facey (12 points, 12 rebounds) are becoming a formidable front line for the Huskies. Facey, in particular, has thrived on the glass and turned in his fourth double-digit scoring game.

Ollie’s take: “I really appreciate Kentan’s effort. It was good to see him have his first double-double.”

WHAT NEEDS WORK

1. THE FIRST FIVE MINUTES: Ollie said Saturday the Huskies wanted to set the tempo in the opening five minutes of the game, but instead it took them another five before they started to get rolling.

Boatright’s take: “Coach got on us during one of the timeouts and I got on us during one of the huddles. We just picked it up. I think it just took everybody a while to get into it, but once we did, we kept it rolling.”

2. PROMOTION COMMUNICATION: Ollie joked afterwards he had no idea about the Buffalo Wild Wings free wing promotion if the team scored 82 points or more.

UP NEXT

Wednesday, vs. Temple, 1 p.m. at XL Center in Hartford

NOTES: Omar Calhoun joked after Sunday’s win he might have to get a split shirt that’s half Duke and half UConn for Monday’s game at the XL Center between the UConn women and Duke. Calhoun’s sister Sierra is a freshman for the Blue Devils. …. Ryan Boatright was named to the American Athletic Conference’s honor roll again Monday morning. … The last time the Huskies had five players scored in double figures was against Villanova in the third round of the NCAA Tournament in March. … Temple senior Jess Morgan was the AAC Player of the Week after averaging 16.0 points and 4.0 assists in the two games, including a 77-52 win over then No. 10 Kansas.

William Paxton