DePaul Blue Demons vs. UConn Huskies – Wednesday, February 15th, 6 p.m. Central – Gampel Pavilion Storrs, Connecticut
Television – Big East Network – WCUU – The U Too in Chicago, SNY
Radio – WSCR AM 670
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Right now, the greater concern for UConn is the current season. The Huskies 85-67 loss to Syracuse on Saturday was its sixth in the last seven games, dropping Connecticut to 15-9, 5-7 in the Big East. Jim Calhoun is still out indefinitely for medical reasons. And the schedule offers just two more games against ranked teams, this Saturday against Marquette and a Feb. 25 trip to Syracuse, to burst back into the highlight shows.
Of course, the way the team is playing right now, any win would be appreciate. Acting head coach George Blaney will look to turn things around beginning Wednesday against DePaul, with the added knowledge that sacrificing games now to be better next year is even less of an option than usual.
Calhoun misses another Carrier Dome trip
--Jim Calhoun is still out with his back issues, and there's no timetable for his return. Interestingly, this was the second consecutive missed trip to the Carrier Dome for the UConn coach. He missed the 2010 trip to Syracuse for stress-related exhaustion, and hasn't been at a road game there since 2008.
--DeAndre Daniels did not play in the loss to Syracuse. The freshman has to hope that Jim Calhoun will be back soon, since his playing time is strictly matchup-based with associate head coach George Blaney in charge and C.J. Fair is a tough player for Daniels to handle.
--Freshman center Andre Drummond has had an impressive first year, but he made acting head coach George Blaney jump up and pump his fists against Syracuse by how he dunked the ball. The coaches have been on Drummond to be aggressive and slam the ball home rather than try to flip it over opposing shot blockers, and by doing so against Syracuse he got easy baskets and sat Fab Melo down with foul trouble.
BY THE NUMBERS: 59.3 percent -- Syracuse's shooting percentage against Connecticut. That's the highest any opponent has shot against the Huskies since Dec. 2000.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "What's interesting about his character is that he's learning. He's never had to compete before, he's always been the biggest, strongest, most natural athlete in any game he's ever been in. Now he's learning how to compete at this level. You have to do things: take peoples' legs out, run the court, finish strong at the rim, get people off you so you two-handed dunk rather than one-handed dunk. He's picking it up and getting better and better as we go along." -- Connecticut assistant coach George Blaney told the Connecticut Post, on freshman center Andre Drummond.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--vs. DePaul, Feb. 15
KEY MATCHUPS: A team battling a losing streak can't ask for too much more than a home game against an opponent at the bottom of the league standings. Still the wildcard in the DePaul-UConn game is always the Blue Demons' Cleveland Melvin, an original commit to the Huskies who backed out and went with its Chicago-based rival instead. But fellow sophomore Brandon Young is also a big scorer, and will be a tricky matchup for whichever UConn guard defends him.
--Andre Drummond had a monster game against Syracuse, but rolled his ankle in the second half. He hopes to play this week, but it will depend how it responds early in the week.
--Shabazz Napier entered the Syracuse game in a 6-40 slump, but had his best games in weeks in the loss to the Orange. The sophomore guard scored 11 points, went 4-6 from the floor, and dished out seven assists.
--Jeremy Lamb led the Huskies with 18 points, but went 2-10 from three-point range. He's 7-33 from beyond the arc over the last four games.
The Last Time
On March 8th, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the Huskies ran the Blue Demons out of the Big East tournament.
Two decisive scoring runs-one in the first half (15-0), and a 29-10 run to end the game did in the Demons in what would be a runaway 97-71 victory for the Connecticut Huskies.
Connecticut would also own the glass, outrebounding DePaul 46-22.
Kemba Walker dissected DePaul's defense in the second half scoring 19 of his game high 26 points in the second stanza.
Freshman point guard Brandon Young led the Blue Demons with 20 points on 7-19 shooting.
The Demons also had two other players score in double figures as Jeremiah Kelly had 15 points (all on five three-pointers made) as well as 14 from freshman guard Moses Morgan.
Alex Oriakhi chipped in with a monster double-double of 13 points and 19 rebounds for the Huskies.
NO NAME HT/WT POSITION YR/CLASS HOMETOWN
4 Brendan Allen 6-3/187 Guard FR Windsor, Conn.
21 Kyle Bailey 6-3/170 Guard SR Lancaster, N.H.
11 Ryan Boatright 6-0/160 Guard FR Aurora, Ill.
25 Michael Bradley 6-10/225 Center/Forward RS FR Chattanooga, Tenn.
14 P.J. Cochrane 6-2/200 Guard SR Newtown, Conn.
2 DeAndre Daniels 6-8/195 Forward FR Los Angeles, Calif.
12 Andre Drummond 6-10/270 Center FR Middletown, Conn.
5 Niels Giffey 6-7/205 Guard/Forward SO Berlin, Germany
3 Jeremy Lamb 6-5/180 Guard/Forward SO Norcross, Ga.
13 Shabazz Napier 6-1/171 Guard SO Roxbury, Mass.
10 Tyler Olander 6-9/225 Forward SO Mansfield, Conn.
34 Alex Oriakhi 6-9/240 Forward/Center JR Lowell, Mass.
22 Roscoe Smith 6-8/205 Forward SO Baltimore, Md.
23 Benjamin Stewart 6-5/205 Forward SR Denver, Colo.
40 Ethan Waite 5-10/165 Guard SR East Hartford, Conn.
1 Enosch Wolf 7-1/245 Center SO Goettingen, Germany
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