Friday, November 27, 2009

Sir Duke

In the sporadic yet often spectacular history of UConn-Duke warfare, this one won't go down as one of the most attractive or memorable battles.

But Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will take the victory just the same.

Some numbers to chew on:

***Duke shot just 28 percent from the floor, including 8-for-29 in the second half.

***The Blue Devils outrebounded the Huskies 56-43. A whopping 25 of Duke's boards were on the offensive end.

***It was enough to have Calhoun grasping to put the loss into historic – if not exactly positive, or accurate – perspective.

"The last time we gave up 25 offensive rebounds was to Georgetown with Alonzo (Mourning) and (Dikembe) Motombo, who are a little bit bigger than Duke was," Calhoun noted.

Actually, that's not true. Last season, UConn surrendered 26 offensive boards in a game with Providence. Still, the Huskies easily won that Jan. 31 contest, 94-61.

"The last time we've lost a game holding a team to eight field goals in a half and 28-percent shooting," Calhoun continued. "I can't remember."

***Here's one Calhoun likely remembers: the last time Duke had defeated the Huskies was on March 22, 1991 in a Sweet Sixteen matchup. Since then, UConn had won four straight – including the 1999 national championship game and a 2004 Final Four contest.

Duke now holds a 5-4 all-time advantage over the Huskies. With Mike Krzyzewski and Calhoun at the respective helms of both teams, UConn still owns a 4-3 edge.

***Calhoun and Coach K had combined for 1,647 wins entering Friday's game, setting a new NCAA record for most wins by opposing coaches. That total now, of course, is 1,648 – with 839 for Coach K and 809 for Calhoun.

Prior to the opening tap, NIT chairman and fellow Hall of Famer C.M. Newton presented the two coaches with commemorative basketballs in recognition of the accomplishment.

***UConn hit a mere 15 of 28 free throw attempts. Jerome Dyson was 3-for-9 from the charity stripe.

"I really can't explain it," said Dyson.

***Although there were a total of 80 missed shots – not counting free throws – Stanley Robinson, UConn's 6-foot-9 jumping jack forward, had just four rebounds in 35 minutes. At one point, Calhoun took Robinson out of the game and gave the senior an earful.

"I told him to get his (rear end) going and try to play some basketball," Calhoun said. "He didn't. He did defend, he played a very good player (Kyle Singler) and didn't give him any open shots. But for him to play 35 minutes and get four rebounds in a game of (90) misses? It just can't happen. And he's a terrific rebounder.

"Charles (Okwandu) couldn't do it tonight, the game was too sophisticated for him. Gavin (Edwards) should have rebounded more, but I can't fault Gavin coming off the bench, he only played 24 minutes. But I can fault Sticks, because I've got to rely upon him. He's supposed to be one of the premier players in the league, if not the country, but he certainly didn't play that well tonight on the offensive end."

***Sticks did hold Duke All-America forward Kyle Singler to six points on 2-for-12 shooting.

***The Huskies didn't hit a single 3-pointer. Heck, they only attempted four of them.

***UConn shot 37-percent from the floor.

***Dyson finished with 15 points, Edwards added 12 off the bench and Robinson netted 10. Alex Oriakhi had eight points to go with his game-high 13 boards, and Kemba Walker had nine points, nine assists – and six turnovers.


Normally, it's Calhoun who disses a media member over a perceived dis of his own. On Friday, it was Coach K.

Informed that ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb had labeled Duke "alarmingly unathletic" two nights earlier, Krzyzewski countered:

"Well, he should be an expert on 'alarmingly unathletic, so I'll have to take a look at that a little bit closer. If it comes from an expert who knows what it's like to be alarmingly non-athletic … actually, we're pretty athletic. We're just not as athletic as Connecticut."

Later, when asked how he would have felt felt had someone told him prior to the game that his team would shoot 28 percent against UConn, Coach K said: "I would have been very worried, and mad at you. I would have told you to go talk to Doug Gottlieb. You don't have to do that, by the way. I won't punish you."


***Edwards was called for a flagrant foul – his fourth – as Duke's Lance Thomas went in for a post move with 7:29 to play.

"Apparently, it was a flagrant foul because I went up for the shot fake and fouled him," Edwards said. "That's a flagrant these days, I guess. I don't really know, (the ref) didn't say anything to me. I didn't really know what was flagrant about it."

***Second best quote of the night comes from Robinson.

"We outplayed ourselves," Sticks said.

Somehow, that made about as much sense as anything else on Friday night.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man I wish we had Majok for this one

November 27, 2009 at 10:48 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You think we might practice shooting free throws in practice?

November 28, 2009 at 10:43 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All good w/. JCM? After the pre-season hype......I guess we were expecting to see more of him, but regardless feel he will be an important part of this program in the future. Is all good?

November 28, 2009 at 8:06 PM 
Blogger David Borges said...

Coombs-McDaniel must not be showing enough in practice right now. That's all I can gather. I was surprised he seemed one of the last options off the bench on Friday night, but it seems he has some catching up to do.

November 29, 2009 at 8:22 PM 

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