Bulls struggle offensively, Huskies shine
Published: Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 00:02
With 3:51 left in the first half, USF’s Martino Brock caught nothing but air on one of his free throw attempts.
That about summed it up for the Bulls Wednesday night, as the No. 24 UConn men’s basketball team dismantled its visitors by the score of 83-40 at the XL Center.
The Huskies led by as much as 47 at one point in the game and the win was their second 40-plus points victory margin of the season, with the last one coming against Detroit on Nov. 14, 2013 by the score of 101-55 at Gampel Pavilion.
“It was a great game,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. “We came out and established ourselves early… and we just kept it rolling.”
The Huskies began the game with an 8-0 run within the opening three minutes and a Kromah breakaway dunk at end the first half to put the Huskies up 45-14 all but sealed USF’s fate.
Led by junior forward DeAndre Daniels’ game-high 12 points, all 12 players who played for the Huskies Wednesday night got on scoreboard, including walk-ons Pat Lenehan and new addition Nnamdi Amilo.
“Everybody that stepped on the court got a basket and I think that’s amazing,” Ollie said. “It’s great to see Pat scored finally, because he does a great job for us. He’s selfless. We got Pat’s name back on his jersey, so I like that. I’m happy for those guys to get in the game.”
USF has not shot well this season with a 42 percent shooting average from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range coming into the contest. As a result, the Huskies focused on protecting the paint and held the Bulls to just 24 percent on 12-for-50 shooting Wednesday night.
“I just tell the guys to bring their locks,” Ollie said. “That’s kind of our motto right now. We want to be on lockdown defense. Hopefully guys are buying in. I see how they transfer from practice over to the game, and they’re following the game plan and details and that’s what I like to see.”
The 40 points by the Bulls are tied for the lowest amount the Huskies have allowed since their 77-40 win over Holy Cross on Dec. 18, 2011.
UConn scored a total of 28 field goals in the game, with 24 of them coming off assists. Lasan Kromah had seven of them to lead the Huskies.
“We are just having fun getting out on fast breaks and guys getting open running the floor,” Kromah said. “We just played team basketball.”
Senior guard Shabazz Napier scored seven points in the contest, surpassing former UConn greats Donyell Marshall and Khalid El-Amin to move up to 10th place in the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,654 points.
Sophomore guard Omar Calhoun and senior forward/center Tyler Olander did not play on Wednesday night. Calhoun suffered a concussion in the team’s game at UCF last Sunday while Olander sat out due to flu-like symptoms.
“Omar is improving each and every day,” Ollie said. “We don’t know if he will be ready for Memphis, but hopefully he is, and if he’s not, we’ve just got to keep praying for him that he gets back and keep everybody ready to go.”
UConn will return to the XL Center on Saturday to host No. 20 Memphis. The Huskies topped the Tigers on the road, 83-73, in their previous meeting on Jan. 16.