Tuesday, January 3, 2012

From Jersey It Came

Here are some of the grisly numbers from UConn's 75-63 loss to Seton Hall that wasn't nearly that close:

*** UConn committed 13 first-half turnovers. Just one in the second, but the damage had been done.

*** Seton Hall hit 10 of 20 3-pointers, 6 of 10 in the latter half -- including five during one four-minute stretch that pretty much salted the game away.

*** The Huskies shot just 35.1 percent from the floor, by far their worst of the season. Last time they shot worse? Last year's national championship game (34.5) -- which, you may recall, UConn won.

*** Andre Drummond and Alex Oriakhi combined for just six points. Oriakhi had just two points and two rebounds. Not sure what's going on there. Or with Roscoe Smith, for that matter.

*** Jeremy Lamb had a team-high 19 points, but none over the game's final 15 minutes.

*** Niels Giffey had 11 points -- six of them from the foul line.

*** Shabazz Napier had nearly as many turnovers (five) as points (six). Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said stopping Napier was the key going into the game.

"He really is a catalyst," Willard said of Napier. "He is a heck of a player and we knew it was tough to stop Lamb. He comes off so many screens, he's got such great range, and you kind of almost have to pick your poison. He was a much more important person to stop, because Lamb is going to get his. You have to try to stop one of them and we really tried to put two people on Napier at all times."

*** UConn's 35-22 halftime deficit was its first of the season.

*** UConn had won 11 straight over the Hall, 18 of its last 19 and 25 of its last 27.

*** George Blaney now has as many technical fouls this season as Jim Calhoun: one apiece. Funny, it takes a lot less for the refs to "T" up George than it does to get Calhoun.

Nothing against Blaney, but this is a game where the Huskies truly missed Calhoun. They still might not have won, but things would have been a lot different with his intensity on the sidelines.

*** Seton Hall's Jordan Theodore scored all 19 of his points in the second half and also finished with 11 assists and three steals. Herb Pope had 15 points and eight rebounds, Fuquan Edwin added 12 and 11 and Aaron Cosby netted 12 points.

And a few other things:

UConn fans may not care about this right now, but Willard is quite a character. He was awed by the fact that the Pirates got a postgame locker-room visit from Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. And he didn't think his players understood the historical impact of finally beating UConn for the first time in 11 years.

“I’ve got three Europeans. They don’t know where New Jersey is," he said. "I didn’t know (about the 11-game losing streak), until I talked to (a writer) yesterday.”

Willard also called the Drummond-Pope controversy "one of the stupidest things" he's ever heard.

"Why would he know?" Willard asked. "He probably just knew who No. 15 was. That’s the way we do it. If I had told Freddie Wilson to go stop (Providence’s) Vincent Council, he’d be like, ‘Who’s that?’ We play so many games against so many great players, it’s just one of those things.”

Oh, and Seton Hall is good. I'll almost certainly be voting for them in my AP Top 25 poll on Sunday -- unless they blow it and lose at Providence (which is hardly out of the question in this wild and whacky Big East).

*** Curiously, Lamb seemed to place some of the blame of the loss on the game's officials.

“We couldn’t get (any) calls," he said afterwards.

When asked about UConn's 13 first-half turnovers, Lamb said: "Some of them we got fouled, didn’t get the call, and some of them we made bad passes. You’ve got to take care of the ball.”

Tyler Olander may have summed things up the best:

"They came back and kind of punched us in the mouth a little bit. We failed to punch back for the rest of the game, really.”

*** Jim Calhoun can return to coaching the team starting tomorrow. His first return to the sidelines will be Saturday at Rutgers.

"It’s always nice to have Coach back, because he tells us exactly what we need to do," Olander said. "He’s our leader, he’s our coach. When your leader goes down, it hurts a little bit, so it’s always good to get him back.”

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