On a night when the Connecticut Huskies could not seem to make anything, they were saved by junior forward DeAndre Daniels. The Huskies outlasted Boston College for a 72-70 victory on Tuesday evening during the final four of the 2K Sports Classic, and if it wasn’t for Daniels, this could have been a loss for UConn.
Daniels will be instrumental if the Huskies are to contend for the AAC title this year, and he led the way with 23 points on 8-15 shooting Tuesday night. He was the only UConn player who made more than one basket, and also shot higher than 35 percent from the field, and as a team, the Huskies shot 39.3 percent on the night.
UConn has two very good and ultra-quick guards, Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright, that will keep defenses on their toes most evenings, but Daniels is the x-factor for the Huskies. He is a stretch-four that opens up the driving lanes for Napier and Boatright, just like he did against Boston College. The Eagles kept collapsing in the paint to cut off drives from Napier, leaving Daniels open on the perimeter. Boston College went small, using Ryan Anderson at center, and this only made things better for Daniels. He was able to bully smaller players or shoot over the top of them. Anderson, who was the one bright spot for BC, was unable to stay with Daniels athletically, and the same issue was had by fellow Eagles Will Magarity and Eddie Odio. As a matter of fact, there are few players in the country who play the power forward position that can hang with Daniels in the athleticism department.
Daniels plays up to this point in the season is an added bonus for the Huskies; they typically rely on Napier and Boatright. It’s good to know that you have a third scoring option when your first two guys are having an off night. This time, the Huskies were fortunate and able to skate by with their two leading scorers, going a combined 8-25 from the field, and if it wasn’t for Napier’s ability to get to the stripe (he attempted 10 free throws), the Huskies would have been knocked off by the Eagles.
The game was a nail-biter that went to the final buzzer, as Boston College had a three-point attempt swatted away as the final buzzer sounded. Daniels was able to walk off the court knowing that he was the reason his team won. Not only did Daniels have 23 points, he also led the team with six rebounds, two steals, and added a block for good measure. There aren’t going to be many nights when UConn will need Daniels to have a big night for them to win, but on this night, they sure were glad he was capable of taking charge and leading them to victory.
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