A look at the good, the bad and the ugly from UConn’s AAC-opening loss to Temple 57-53 in front of 13,428 on Wednesday at the XL Center:
WHAT WENT RIGHT
1. STAND AND DELIVER: Minus their top player Ryan Boatright, Daniel Hamilton, Kentan Facey and company tried to grind out a win by using their defense. They held Temple to 31.6 percent shooting (18-for-57) and just 51 points in regulation. Temple came in averaging 11 3-pointers made during their three-game win streak, but managed seven.
UConn coach Kevin Ollie’s take: “I can’t fault those guys by how hard they fought and got back in the game. I can’t question our defense.”
2. FACE TIME: Maybe the biggest surprise of the season has been the emergence of Facey, who went from seldom-used last season to the Huskies’ best rebounder. Facey finished with 11 rebounds and just missed a second straight double-double with nine points. He and Hamilton (12 rebounds) helped the Huskies finish with a 46-37 edge on the glass.
3.OMAR’S A COMING: Even though he left with a cut over his left eye in the second half, Omar Calhoun scored seven points with three rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes off the bench. He sank UConn’s only 3-pointer of the game and played with the “EGB” that Ollie said would lead to more minutes down the road. On a young team with offensive issues, Calhoun’s comeback could be huge down the road.
WHAT NEEDS WORK
1. LIFE WITHOUT BOAT: We got a peak at the 2015-16 Huskies in the second half and OT – there were some bright moments but clearing the group has a ways to go before they are capable of winning games with Boatright on the floor. The 6-0 run at the end of regulation was impressive and the group shot 42.3 percent without Boatright in the second half. But, when the captain is out of the line up, the offense just doesn’t look sharp and guys seem to settle for too many poor shots.
UConn guard Rodney Purvis’ take: “We have to find one more guy to take the leadership role. I feel like I can bet that guy. I just have to step up. Like I said I played 38 minutes and I grabbed only one rebound. That’s on me.”
2. CALLING THE SHOT DOCTOR: The free-throw shooting remains an amazing roller coaster ride. One night the Huskies shoot 92.3 percent against Central Connecticut State, but then they follow it up with a 42.1 night (8-for-19) against the Owls.
Purvis’ take: “We have to get back in the gym and focus on the free-throw line.”
3. HAMILTON’S EXPERIENCE: Look, sure Hamilton missed some free throws at the end, but the Huskies blew too many chances in the second half and overtime to blame the loss on it. In 11 games, Hamilton has asked to shoulder a major role on this team – and most of the time he has stepped up and delivered. Turnovers continue to be an issues (six vs. Temple), but the only thing really lacking in the youngster’s game is more experience at the college level. Kemba, Shabazz, etc., they all went through their moments on the way to becoming stars with at UConn.
Ollie’s take: “I know Daniel feels bad for doing that, but there were other things in the game that caused us to lose that game.”
Saturday, at Florida, 2 p.m.