Friday, November 13, 2009


Friday the 13th. Thirteen 3-pointers allowed. Thirteen offensive rebounds allowed.

Coincidence? Of course. But that didn't stop Jim Calhoun from going all Jason Voorhees after the game and slashing his team – and particularly Gavin Edwards – to ribbons.

"I'd like to congratulate William & Mary for outplaying us," Calhoun said after the Huskies' lackluster, 75-66 win in their season-opener. "They did a terrific job. They beat us on the glass. I know it says 34-34 (in rebounds), but they had a 13-10 advantage on the offensive rebounding."

Calhoun was reduced to quoting an old heavyweight boxer not necessarily known for his verbal skills.

"Mike Tyson has a great saying: 'You don't know how tough you are until someone punches you in the face.' We certainly didn't get punched in the face tonight, but we had someone finally stand up to us, and we didn't react very well. I'm incredibly disappointed."

It kept coming. Here's Calhoun's synopsis of his players on Friday:

"Stanley (Robinson) had a little problem with my advice when I said stop taking contested shots. So then he passed on four shots and said, 'You don't want me to shoot.' That's a senior … "Stanley was awful, but he had good offensive numbers (17 points, seven boards)."

"Jerome (Dyson) was awful and good, all at the same time. But we needed him tonight. One thing Jerome's not going to do is not stand up when he gets punched."

"Kemba (Walker) was OK, Alex started off well … Jamaal Trice seemed like he was in a fog … After Alex, Darius (Smith) was probably the least bad."

Then there was Edwards, the 6-10 senior forward who was making the first start of his 90-game UConn career. He took just one shot in the first 34 minutes, wound up taking just three, scored six points and grabbed a mere four rebounds.

Worse, he allowed Tribe forward Quinn McDowell to go off for 20 points and put up a host of uncontested shots.

"We don't have a four-man," Calhoun said, never mentioning Edwards by name. "His guy got 20 tonight, because he continues to overhelp, as he's done for four straight years … The kid, McDowell, is still open, I think … the kid, if he's still on the court now, he's probably free."

As Calhoun looked down the list of his starting five by class, he added: "Senior (Robinson), I guess senior (Edwards), freshman (Oriakhi), senior (Dyson), sophomore (Walker)."

Yeah, he was none too pleased with Gavin Edwards. And neither was Edwards himself.

"I don't think I played well at all," he said. "My man averaged like nine points last year and he went off for 20 tonight. I just played terrible defense, and I didn't play very well on offense."

Of course, he wasn't the only UConn player to turn in a subpar effort on Friday.

"This is definitely an eye-opener for the whole team," Edwards added. "There's not any individual person that could really take anything out of this. As a team, nobody really played that well."

***My own analysis:

Robinson did force a few too many shots, but at least he was looking for his shot -- something he didn't do enough of for great stretches last season.

Edwards was as bad as Calhoun said. Appeared at times that he didn't want to be here. Really needs to get tougher.

Oriakhi hit his first three shots within the first 3 1/2 minutes of play, two of them on nice lefty hook shots, then attempted just one more shot the rest of the way as the Tribe collapsed their zone on him. He was 4-for-4 from the floor.

Dyson appears to be the guy UConn will go to when the chips are down. He led all scorers with 27 points, to go with eight assists and four steals. Dyson personally engineered a 10-2 UConn run midway through the latter half, sandwiching a pair of 3-pointers around an alley-oop pass to Robinson, then hitting a slashing lay-in to give the Huskies a 57-43 lead with 11:57 remaining.

"He just sort of took the game over at times," Tribe coach Tony Shaver said of Dyson.

Walker was OK -- 12 points, three turnovers, just two assists. He picked up his second foul 6:01 before halftime and sat out the rest of the half.

Donnell Beverly played three minutes, made one nice pass to Dyson for a basket, then threw the ball away, never to return.

Jamal Coombs-McDaniel had two points and three boards in his first seven minutes as a Husky.

Trice did nothing. Smith hit a key trey early in the latter half after the Tribe had closed to within four points.

Charles Okwandu? Three minutes, bagels across the board.

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