Total Team Effort

Total team effort. That's what the Connecticut Huskies got Saturday as they defeated Notre Dame 67-53 for their first significant road victory of this season.

Coach Jim Calhoun wasn't just happy with the victory, he repeatedly used the word "proud" to describe his feelings. That's not a work that Calhoun throws around loosely. But he had every right to be proud Saturday.

Here are few reasons why:

-- Shortly after the Huskies checked into their South Bend hotel Friday, they were blindsided by the news from the NCAA that another review of Ryan Boatright's eligibility is in progress. Additional information has come to their attention, the NCAA told UConn. Still trying to figure out how that could be. After such a long review that led to a six-game suspension at the start of the year, you would think the NCAA had plenty of time to exhaust all of its sources on these matters -presumably improper benefits that are related to his AAU career.

So UConn had no choice but to sit Boatright again. Calhoun told reporters Saturday that he pulled Boatright out of a team dinner to tell him there would be no uniform, no game time, no chance to play in front of his family and friends who purchased 300 to 400 tickets to watch him play within a couple of hours of his home.

"He was in my arms when I told him," Calhoun said. "That's all I can tell you … I'm not going to do anything that's going to hurt Ryan Boatright. I feel a lot about it, but I have nothing to say about it."

I wish someone in the NCAA offices could have seen the Ryan Boatright reporters saw Thursday at practice in Storrs. It has been a long, long time since I've seen a player so excited about going home to play in front of family. Now that moment has been taken away from him. He can never get it back. I have no idea why. But even if there is another AAU plane ticket (valued between $300 and $400), is it really worth all this? Does the NCAA think it can change the culture by making an example of Ryan Boatright.

Boatright's teammates understand what the opportunity meant to him. They saw him all week and they were happy for him. When the news came down, they hurt for him. And there has been more than one postgame quoting Alex Oriakhi and Roscoe Smith saying they dedicated this game to Boatright.

When the news broke, it was only natural to speculate about the impact of losing a key player for this game. But Calhoun teams always treat adversity the same way. The Huskies turned into a challenge and they prevailed over that challenge.

-- If we learned anything from the first review of Boatright it was the inability to predict how long the process might take and what the penalty might be. Boatright is the spark off UConn's bench. He has played 10 games without a start but he is UConn's fourth leading scorer with a 10.2 average.

Any prolonged absence will hurt the Huskies. Calhoun can change the tempo of a game with the three-guard lineup of Boatright, Jeremy Lamb and Shabazz Napier. There are sacrifices in the areas of rebounding and guarding the perimeter (especially three-point shots). But the West Virginia game was proof that the Huskies are transformed offensively by that lineup.

-- Napier and Lamb each played 40 minutes Saturday. If one gets into foul trouble in a Big East game and Boatright is still sitting, that won't be pretty.

-- Oriakhi had one of his best games of the season with 12 points and seven rebounds. Didn't you notice his smile was back? That's two solid efforts in a row for Alex. And Smith probably played his best game since the 2011 NCAA tournament. Smith had 10 points and six rebounds. Toss in Andre Drummond's 10 points and 13 rebounds, along with the seven points and five rebounds from Niels Giffey and this was the best frontcourt performance of the season, by far.

-- Jeremy Lamb's shot wasn't falling. He was held to six points. So he shifted gears and recorded seven assists. That's a career high for the sophomore All-American.

-- A couple of days ago Tyler Olander's heel was so sore he couldn't practice. But he jumped into the action with six minutes off the bench. He had four points and four rebounds. And reportedly, Olander was a big-time cheerleader on the bench the rest of the game.

-- And don't forget the defense. After Notre Dame hit 5 of 11 three-pointers in the first half, UConn extended out on shooters and the Irish were 1-for-15 in the second half. With the Huskies dominating the boards (43-33) that spelled trouble for Notre Dame.

Total team effort.

Official Basketball Box Score

Connecticut vs Notre Dame

1-14-12 11:00 a.m. at Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

VISITORS: Connecticut 14-3, 4-2 BE

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

02 Daniels, DeAndre.... f 1-2 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 12

34 Oriakhi, Alex....... f 5-8 0-0 2-2 1 6 7 3 12 0 2 2 1 24

12 Drummond, Andre..... c 5-12 0-0 0-0 4 9 13 1 10 1 1 2 1 36

03 Lamb, Jeremy........ g 3-11 0-4 0-0 1 2 3 3 6 7 1 0 1 40

13 Napier, Shabazz..... g 5-11 1-5 5-8 0 3 3 1 16 5 1 1 1 40

05 Giffey, Niels....... 3-5 1-2 0-0 1 4 5 1 7 0 1 0 1 27

10 Olander, Tyler...... 1-2 0-0 2-2 3 1 4 2 4 0 2 0 0 6

22 Smith, Roscoe....... 2-3 0-0 6-6 3 3 6 0 10 0 1 0 0 15

TEAM................ 1 1

Totals.............. 25-54 2-12 15-18 14 29 43 12 67 13 10 5 5 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-29 37.9% 2nd Half: 14-25 56.0% Game: 46.3% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 0-6 0.0% 2nd Half: 2-6 33.3% Game: 16.7% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 2-2 100 % 2nd Half: 13-16 81.3% Game: 83.3% 2

HOME TEAM: Notre Dame 11-7, 3-2 BE

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

45 COOLEY, Jack........ f 2-7 0-0 3-3 4 2 6 2 7 1 2 1 0 25

00 ATKINS, Eric........ g 8-15 4-7 0-1 1 2 3 2 20 2 2 0 0 40-

12 DRAGICEVICH, Alex... g 1-5 0-2 0-0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 17

14 MARTIN, Scott....... g 5-14 0-5 2-2 3 6 9 4 12 1 2 0 0 40-

22 GRANT, Jerian....... g 2-9 2-8 0-2 0 1 1 4 6 5 0 0 1 35

04 CROWLEY, Patrick.... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0+

24 CONNAUGHTON, Pat.... 1-7 0-3 0-0 2 2 4 3 2 0 0 0 2 20

25 KNIGHT, Tom......... 1-4 0-0 0-0 3 1 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 9

32 BROOKS, Joey........ 1-4 0-1 0-0 2 1 3 0 2 0 1 0 0 13

33 BROGHAMMER, Mike.... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

TEAM................ 2 1 3

Totals.............. 21-65 6-26 5-8 17 16 33 16 53 9 8 1 3 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 9-29 31.0% 2nd Half: 12-36 33.3% Game: 32.3% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 5-11 45.5% 2nd Half: 1-15 6.7% Game: 23.1% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 2-3 66.7% 2nd Half: 3-5 60.0% Game: 62.5% 1 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Officials: John Cahill, Jeff Anderson, Evan Burroughs

Technical fouls: Connecticut-None. Notre Dame-None.

Attendance: 9149

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

Connecticut................... 24 43 - 67

Notre Dame.................... 25 28 - 53

Points in the paint-UCONN 28,ND 26. Points off turnovers-UCONN 10,ND 11.

2nd chance points-UCONN 16,ND 15. Fast break points-UCONN 4,ND 2.

Bench points-UCONN 21,ND 6. Score tied-3 times. Lead changed-10 times.

Last FG-UCONN 2nd-01:23, ND 2nd-00:21.

Largest lead-UCONN by 18 2nd-02:29, ND by 5 1st-03:26.


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