Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cincinnati Bungle

Jim Calhoun didn't name names. He didn't have to.

“I just had a little talk with Kemba about a couple of players he played with, and he said, ‘It doesn’t look like them,'" Calhoun said following UConn's 70-67 loss to Cincinnati. "And that’s exactly how I feel, too ... I like what Kemba said ... 'Those aren’t the same guys I played with. Or at least they didn’t play that way tonight.'”

Specifically, he was referring to Alex Oriakhi and Jeremy Lamb, Walker's former teammates. And though he was never officially a teammate of Andre Drummond's, he may as well have mentioned him, as well.

Oriakhi had just two points, Drummond just four, along with three turnovers as he looked completely out of sort and made too many short interior passes, rather than taking the ball strong to the hole.

"I thought we had a great advantage inside, it didn’t look like that worked out very well," Calhoun said. "We were jumping and throwing one-foot passes inside. That’s very disappointing.

"When you start game the with a 6-10, 280-pound guy, and another guy who’s 6-9, 245 pounds, and they can’t rebound or you can’t throw them the ball … that was our game plan, and it didn’t work out very well for us.”

Lamb finished with 14 points, second only to Shabazz Napier's career-high 27. But Lamb hardly escaped Calhoun's wrath -- including once during a timeout, when the sophomore guard seemed to turn his head and ignore Calhoun's castigation.

What wasn't working for Lamb tonight?

“Total game package might be a good word," Calhoun said. "He’s a guy we want to go to, and he got 12 shots up, which is remarkable he even got that many up. He wasn’t very good.”

Calhoun said Napier "wasn’t great, but I thought he was gutty and competitive ... Roscoe played better the other night, but he worked hard. Niels gave us a pretty good effort."

Otherwise, he didn't have much good to say about anybody. Check that, there was one other player who got a compliment -- Brendan Allen, a walk-on. Allen came into the game a little over seven minutes into the action when Napier left with what appeared to be an injured knee. Allen made the most of his two minutes, scoring on a nice driving layup to give UConn a 15-14 lead before Napier returned.

“Maybe I should play Brandon Allen more minutes," Calhoun said, only half-kiddingly. "At least he had enough guts to take it to the rim, and didn’t look like he was gonna fumble it.”

*** Not to make excuses, but Drummond said yesterday he was battling a bad cold and after the game reported on Twitter that he was "sick as a dog." And certainly, the Huskies miss Ryan Boatright.

“Would Ryan have helped? Clearly," said Calhoun. "We didn’t have Ryan … stuff happens. The guys we had were good enough to win tonight’s game.”

*** Niels Giffey said his last-second, three-quarter court heave "felt good. It felt really good. But, that happens. You can’t win a game with a last shot like that … we had so many chances.”

*** I had a bit of trepidition voting for Cincy for the AP Top 25 on Sunday, but the Bearcats seem to have proven me right. Good, tough team. Seven straight Big East road wins. Very impressive. They've obviously got some size and strength in Yancy Gates, but they're 3-point shooting and ability to force turnovers gives them a whole new dimension.

*** DeAndre Daniels started but went scoreless in six minutes. He was in the gym, shooting and working out, long after the game had ended.

That's all we've got for now ...

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