No doubt, UConn's terrific run to the Maui Invitational last week seemed a lot further in the distance after tonight's lethargic display.
"It's the first time all year it was not fun coaching a team that was lackluster," Calhoun said.
A couple of observations from the game:
***It's time for Jeremy Lamb to step up. He hasn't really had a particularly good game yet, and tonight was probably his worst. Lamb played just nine minutes and had two points and three rebounds. Yes, he's a freshman, just six games into his collegiate career. But the kid seems to have some ability that he's just not tapping into yet. Seems a bit too hesitant with the ball. We keep saying things like, "Lamb didn't play very well, but he really shows a lot of potential." Over the last few games, that hasn't even been the case. In fact, of UConn's five freshmen, he may be the most disappointing thus far.
***Kemba Walker just can't stop scoring 30 points. His output is sort of a numerologist's dream: He's averaging 30 for the season. He averaged 30 in Maui's three games. He scored 30 tonight. He had 15 (his uniform number) in the first half and 15 in the second. In his 42-point game against Vermont, he had 21 in the first half and 21 in the second. A lot of symmetry in there.
Not that any of the above means anything, except for the fact that the Huskies are more reliant on Walker than any team has been reliant on an individual player in recent memory. Seriously, take Walker off the Huskies and they're Providence -- a lot of young, talented players that will struggle to win six games in the Big East. OK, maybe a little better than Providence, but you get the point.
The Huskies have to start complimenting Walker better or the kid will burn out by mid-January. Alex Oriakhi (foul trouble tonight) has emerged as a No. 2 option and Shabazz Napier seems to be a reliable sidekick. But UConn needs more.
"Kemba bailed us out again, and that's nice, but it's a short-term fix," Calhoun noted. "We can't keep going like this."
Added Walker, who hit 14 of 16 free throws: "I definitely need some help on the offensive end. But it's still early. Some of these guys are still getting used to the speed of the game."
Oh, and Walker is just two points shy of 1,000 -- not for this season, it only seems that way. For his career.
***Fatigue was an excuse tonight. Nobody would say it: not the players, certainly not Calhoun. But the team didn't arrive back from Hawaii (into Boston) until Saturday evening. It then practiced both Sunday and Monday -- very good practices, Calhoun insisted. Still, the Huskies probably could have used a rest somewhere in there, and it showed tonight.
Here's betting UConn is a lot better against its fourth and final America East opponent of the season -- UMBC -- on Friday night.