Redshirt senior transfer Lasan Kromah sparked the No. 10 Connecticut Huskies off the bench, contributing 14 important points en route to a 82-70 victory over the Washington Huskies on Sunday afternoon in Seattle. With the win, Connecticut moves to 10-1 on the year, while Washington falls to a 6-5 overall record. Despite the 12-point margin of victory, Connecticut got off to a terrible start, at one time trailing by 13 points in the first half, before their offense clicked back into gear.
Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie finally made the lineup adjustment I’ve been proposing for weeks, substituting freshman 7-footer Amida Brimah into the starting lineup in place of sophomore Philip Nolan. Utilizing a big-man-by-committee system at the five position for most of the season, Ollie decided to give Brimah a chance, since nothing else has really been working offensively at that position all season. While Brimah only scored four points and three rebounds, he remained a presence on the interior and was able to play a role on defense, where he was able to block a couple shots.
Other than the spark from Kromah, who was red hot, hitting on 7-of-10 attempts from the field, the backcourt tandem of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright once again proved to be the difference for UConn. Napier had 20 points to go with six rebounds, while Boatright had 16 points and five rebounds. Both were very efficient from the field, as Napier hit on 5-of-11 attempts and Boatright shot 6-of-9. The strength of the dynamic duo will be the driving force of this team in the coming weeks, once American Athletic Conference play begins.
Nolan, who was benched in favor of Brimah, played his best game of the season, registering eight points and five rebounds. While the lack of an inside presence on offense has been a major concern for Connecticut, it seemed as though the team was poised to attack the rim from all five positions, not just from the two post up spots. This philosophy translated to UConn shooting an impressive 54.9 percent from the field for the game.
Coming off of their lone loss of the season against the Stanford Cardinal, it was nice to see the Huskies rally from a deficit and come out on top. However, they shouldn’t make a habit of playing from behind.
Connecticut squares off against Eastern Washington on Saturday. Tip-off is at 1:00 p.m. ET.