It was the same old story for the Connecticut Huskies as they took on the Harvard Crimson on Wednesday night in Storrs. The Huskies got absolutely no production from their “big men,” placing all the responsibility on the backcourt of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. UConn improves to 12-3 on the season, while the Crimson fall to 13-2.
Napier finished the game with 18 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, as he contributed to his team-leading averages in each of those categories. He was 4-of-12 from the field, and going forward, he might need to get those shot attempts up to somewhere in the 15-to-18 range, as he is one of the only players on the roster who can create his own shot. Another one of those players is Boatright, who finished with 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
Inexplicably, Niels Giffey, who leads the nation in three-point shooting percentage, only attempted two shots on the night yet again, and coach Kevin Ollie seems to be content with his complacency on the offensive side of the ball. This really makes absolutely no sense to me. On a team struggling to find people other than their backcourt, Giffey could be the answer to that problem. Playing against NBA players in an international tournament playing for the German National team this summer, Giffey has all the experience and confidence he needs, but for some reason hasn’t been “let loose” by the coaching staff.
DeAndre Daniels had 11 points and eight rebounds, and Lasan Kromah made his first start of the season, shooting 4-of-11 from the field for nine points. Overall, Kromah is the smart choice to start at the small forward spot, since Giffey seems more comfortable coming off the bench.
But here’s where it got ugly. Tyler Olander, still starting for some unknown reason, recorded five points and two rebounds, and he was the most productive player in the post. Amida Brimah had no points and fouled out, and Phillip Nolan had no points and no rebounds. Additionally, Omar Calhoun once again had his minutes cut and didn’t score yet again. There must be something going on behind the scenes, because Calhoun was one of the most hyped players entering this season. I would personally be shocked if he didn’t transfer after this season. I don’t know which side is to blame — maybe they both are, but a UConn team without Calhoun playing significant minutes is a UConn team with a missing piece of the puzzle.
On the day, the Huskies had 15 turnovers and just 10 assists. The only reason they were able to pull off this victory is due to their hot three-point shooting, where they went 8-of-14 from beyond the arc.
The Huskies take the court again on Saturday, when they welcome the 9-4 UCF Knights to Gampel Pavilion. Tip off is at 6:00 p.m. ET. This is a must-win, in my eyes, for Ollie and the Huskies to show the rest of the AAC that they are for real. Let’s see what happens.