Junior DeAndre Daniels broke out of his early-season shooting slump, recording a game-high 24 points, as the UConn Huskies beat the Boston University Terriers 77-60 at Gampel Pavilion. The top performer of the game, however, was once again Shabazz Napier. A stat line-stuffer through the first three games of the season, Napier continued his hot start, putting up 12 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.
While the final score is not indicative of a struggle, UConn was plagued by inconsistency throughout the game. Once holding a 19-point lead, the Huskies allowed the Terriers back to within a few points midway through the second half before pulling away.
Coach Kevin Ollie’s emphasis on rebounding the basketball paid off last game against Detroit, as his team responded to a few days of tough practices. Today, rebounding was an issue once again, as UConn only pulled down 36 rebounds, which tied BU, and gave up 19 offensive rebounds to the Terriers. Boston University had more offensive rebounds (19) than defensive rebounds (17). This issue will most likely haunt the Huskies all season, and once they get into conference play, they will definitely need to improve if they want to compete.
Omar Calhoun, who entered the game leading the Huskies in scoring, only scored three points on 1-of-5 shooting. The frontcourt combination of Phillip Nolan, Kentan Facey, Tyler Olander and Amida Brimah only produced 12 points and 10 rebounds. This group needs to make an emphasis on rebounding the basketball. Just 10 rebounds combined is unacceptable. Napier, a 6-foot-1-guard, currently leads the team in rebounding by a long shot.
Niels Giffey, coming off three stellar shooting performances, was largely underutilized, only scoring three points on 1-of-2 shooting. The German-born senior has the ability to be a big-time scorer for the Huskies, and has been a much improved defensive player, but for some reason, Ollie has kept him out of a lot of rotations.
Based on the first four games, Ollie should make adjustments to the starting lineup, tabbing Napier, Ryan Boatright, Calhoun, Daniels and Brimah as starters, with Giffey receiving 25-plus minutes of playing time off the bench, combined with Olander, Nolan, Lasan Kromah and Facey making situational substitutions. Let’s see if these changes take effect in the coming weeks.
UConn returns to action Thursday, taking on Boston College at Madison Square Garden in the next game of the 2K Classic.