Saturday, January 29, 2011

'I Don't Want to Talk About Kemba'

Late in the game in in overtime, Alex Oriakhi and Roscoe Smith must have felt a little like Colts WR Reggie Wayne ("I shouldn't have even suited up") felt after losing to the Jets a few weeks ago. Both players hardly sniffed the ball as UConn's three-guard attack of Kemba Walker, Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb weaved the ball around the perimeter seemingly every possession, failed to penetrate and wound up settling for long jumpers and 3's -- a few of which went in, but not enough.

The Huskies fired up 30 3-pointers today, hitting just eight of them. The unimaginative offense late in the game wasn't the only reason they lost -- certainly the inability to stop 5-11 Peyton Siva from driving the lane played a major part. Still, the failure of Walker and Napier, in particular, to drive the lane effectively seemed to stick in the craw of Calhoun afterwards.

When the J-I's Phil Chardis started asking Calhoun about Louisville's swarming defense on Walker, Calhoun snapped: "I don't want to talk about Kemba right now. Next question."

That, my friends, was as close to Calhoun has come to publicly criticizing Walker since probably his freshman year.

When asked if there was any friction between he and the coach, Walker simply shook his head "No." And I don't believe there is any. But if Calhoun was looking to pick his spot in perhaps motivating Walker a bit, there was no better time than the present.

After today's 7-for-23 (2-for-10 on treys) performance, Walker is now shooting 32 percent (24-for-74) in his last four games. Worse, he seemed to force some bad shots this afternoon -- and admitted as much afterwards.

"They're throwing a lot of guys at me," Walker said. "I'm not taking good shots. I've got to do a better job getting good shots."

*** Siva scored the game-tying shots at the end of both regulation and first overtime – the latter a dunk with 7.8 seconds remaining that really was inexcusable, from a UConn perspective.

"I have no explanation for it. None," Calhoun said. "I tried to use different centers, but they both got out of the way to make sure he had a clearer view of the rim. And, obviously, we shouldn't be getting beat that easy at the top, either."

Siva (team-high 19 points) added two more driving layups in the second overtime.

"We told our guys: do not let the clock run out, go three overtimes, be offensively aggressive," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "Come out and just make sure you attack the rim. You can't win on the road unless you attack the rim, and we came out in both overtimes really looking to attack it."

***Lamb's father, Rolando, was up from Georgia to take in his first UConn game. He saw his son play well (9-for-17 shooting) in the loss, which gave Jeremy some consolation.

"It is (a good feeling)," Jeremy said, "and then again, we didn't get the 'W', so it's not really satisfying, you know?"

***UConn outrebounded Louisville by a resounding 51-36 margin -- a result, in part, of the Cardinals overplaying UConn's guards.

***Two members of last year's UConn team, Jerome Dyson and Gavin Edwards, sat next to each other behind the Huskies' bench. The two played an NBDL game against each other Friday night, with Dyson scoring 37 points in Tulsa's win over Springfield.

***Both teams' coaching staffs wore sneakers in support of the American Cancer Society.

***Calhoun is now 7-14 all-time against Pitino-coached teams and 4-5 since Pitino came to Louisville.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

first uconn game i attended since i graduated in 2008. tough one to say the least. settling for jump shots and 3's is not a good sign.

January 29, 2011 at 6:09 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

UConn lost because Dyson and Edwards were behind the bench. They brought their bad karma into Gampel and it had it's affect.

February 2, 2011 at 9:15 AM 

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