Denham Brown – UConn's most consistent and perhaps most important player right now. Aside from being the most reliable player when it comes to putting the ball into the basket, he's carrying the ball handling load with the freshmen points. He's averaging 18.5 points per game and is hitting 92.3% of his free throws. This is the Denham Brown we've been expecting – kid looks like a man among boys at times.
Free Throws –
The difference in the game – UConn converted 30 of 35 free throws while
The Freshman Guards – Robert Garrison was very shaky at times and he took a couple of three point shots that would have gotten him the hook if there were anyone on the bench able to replace him. However, Garrison was on the floor when extended the first half lead out to ten points. If nothing else, he didn't wilt when Austrie had to leave with two fouls in the first half.
Austrie is still struggling with the speed of the game at times, but he
is simply unflappable. While Rashad Anderson's three to bring UConn back to one
point down may have been the shot of the game, Austrie's personal 5-0 run late
in the second half was the punch that put
Austrie scored 11 of his 15 points in the final five minutes of the game
– the entire
– With the exception of the blocked three at the end of the first half, even
Rashad's misses looked like they were going in. He took a definite step forward
tonight and a more experienced point guard might have noticed that
The shot of the game was
Defense – The
defense was strong when it had to be late in the second half. There were some
startling lapses at times, but UConn's speed seemed to discourage
– Basically, a career game for Armstrong. He was aggressive inside and was
sent to the line for nine free throws – he converted eight. Fourteen-points,
eight rebounds and, most importantly, he avoided foul trouble in an
inconsistently-called game. UConn is in trouble if Armstrong runs into foul
Either the latter has shown up early or the weather in
If that happens against Army next week,
Lute Olson – Olson got a little fiery towards the end of the second half. It looked like Grumpy Old Men III when he got tangled with Calhoun for a bit there.
One thing – I expected
Targets – UConn recruited both
just has not improved. He was injured most of last season, but he clearly is not
the player some expected he would be coming out of
From Beyond the Arc – Basically, this breaks down to three good efforts and two awful efforts in the 5-17 total. Brown, Anderson and Austrie were 5-10 on threes, while the Garrison and Gay combo was 0-7.
If Rudy Gay goes 0-4 on threes, you have to accept it – he has to shoot.
Robert Garrison does not need to take three three-point shots, however, and I
The Big East
– Not a great night for the conference. Some cupcakes were snacked on, but there
were two resounding losses –
They're a little dysfunctional right now and I suspect the answer to Boeheim's problems might be on the bench – Wright and Onuaku need more time. Oh, and it might not be a bad idea to tap McNamara and tell him that not every shot is a good shot.
Rudy Gay – Superman got stuck in the phone booth tonight. Gay seems to be thinking a ½ second ahead of where he is at the moment – as a result, he tends to lose track of the basketball. He might put too much air on a pass, he might let a pass go through his fingers or he might forget that you can't wrap your arm around the rib cage of the man you're guarding.
It might be part of the progression of a naturally passive player trying to become more aggressive. It's somewhat reminiscent of Caron Butler's sophomore year; he was maddeningly inconsistent early in the season, but improved to the point where he was virtually unstoppable later in the year. If that's the road Gay is on, the early struggles will soon be distant memories.
Offense – Zones have a tendency to trip teams up early in the season – most
of the practice to date is against man to man defenses. For stretches early in
the second half, UConn looked like the