Change the score, add some praise for Lasan Kromah and you could just about cut-and-paste Tuesday night's game story from Houston with Saturday's game story from Dallas against SMU
. Lack of toughness, energy, rebounding; an AWOL Shabazz Napier for the first half; a disturbingly silent DeAndre Daniels; another good effort by Ryan Boatright; more self-blame by Kevin Ollie.
Maybe it was a play late in the game, after the outcome had essentially been determined, that best summed up UConn's day: SMU had an inbounds play from underneath its own basket with just two seconds on the shot clock. Only way it could really get a good shot off was on a lob, right? No way, with Amida Brimah in the game, the Mustangs would get one, right?
Wrong. Lob pass to Markus Kennedy for an alley-oop layup. 71-58 Mustangs. Game, set, match.
UConn's in some trouble right now, and it doesn't get any easier Wednesday night against Harvard. I believe this team will figure things out, figure out a lineup that's going to hustle and work, and will still be a factor come March (though I'm just about resigned to the fact that the Huskies will never be a good rebounding team. Not this one, anyway).
But as of now, this team is clearly not a Top 25 team. Won't be getting my vote tomorrow night. And it has to start getting things together -- quick.
A few notes 'n quotes that didn't make my game story:
(Ollie, on Omar Calhoun)
“Play defense, and he’ll see more minutes. That’s a lot
of guys – not just Omar Calhoun, please don’t print that – it’s a lot of guys
not playing defense. I can’t have you out there. There will be some changes.
We’ve got to go to the drawing board. If we can’t score, we’ll definitely play
defense. That’s what I hang my hat on. We’re not doing that the last two
(on the strong play of Lasan Kromah)
“He started controlling the point guard (Nic Moore). He had 15 points
in the first half, we changed up and put Lasan on him and he played with
effort. I think I played him the whole second half, because he was just playing
“We’ve got to take pressure off our two guards. We’ve got
to have somebody out there that’s a third player that make plays. That’s why I
went with Lasan, he’s playing strong defense. We took him off (Keith) Frazier. Once we
took him off Frazier, Frazier started getting going. There’s only one Lasan.
Some other guys have to step up and start playing defense like he does. We need
awareness, being down, being focused, paying attention to detail. In practice,
we’re very detail-oriented on what we’re going over. It seemed like these last
two games, all principles go out the window. Guys are scoring on offense but
they’re giving up points on defense. We can’t have it like that.”
“I think we’ve got to play with more intensity, re-focus
on the little things, box-outs, getting the 50-50 balls, all the little stuff
that adds up to having us win big games.”
(is this team tough?)
“Relating to the rebounds, we can get tougher. Our
box-outs. We’ve got fast guards, so if we get a rebound and kick it out to the
wing, we’ll get a lot of fast breaks.”
“Shabazz was trying to get his teammates involved, get
them in the flow of the game. He never rushes his shot … he was trying to help
(can he be a leader on this team, even though it's his first season here?)
“I’m definitely trying to. We’ve got some guys who’ve
been playing for a while. I’m just trying to give little tips here and there
about what I know of the game, little inside scoops to the young guys, even the
guys that have been here. You’re never too old to learn.”
Labels: DeAndre Daniels, Keith Frazier, Kevin Ollie, Lasan Kromah, Markus Kennedy, Nic Moore, Omar Calhoun, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier