DeAndre Daniels explodes in Huskies’ victory
Published: Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 23:01
HARTFORD – Amid a snowstorm and a scarce crowd of 4,741 without the cheerleaders and the dance team, the UConn men’s basketball team trounced Temple, 90-66, Tuesday night at XL Center to improve to 15-4 (3-3 American) on the season.
UConn’s 90 points was the team’s highest output since their 95-68 win over Maine on Dec. 6.
“To get 90 points, I don’t care who you’re playing, we’ve played Division II teams and haven’t scored 90 points,” UConn head coach Kevin Ollie said. “Ninety points is great.”
Daniels’ career night propels Huskies
Coming into the season with high expectations as one of the primary scorers for the Huskies, junior forward DeAndre Daniels has had a subpar season so far, averaging just 12.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
Daniels was also held to just three points and four rebounds in Saturday’s loss against Louisville, but managed to bounce back in a big way Tuesday night, registering career-highs of 31 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Huskies’ offense.
“I just wanted to bounce back because I had a bad game,” Daniels. “I felt like I let my teammates down and my fans down, but everybody has bad games. Tonight, me and Shabazz [Napier] just wanted to be aggressive without playing with Ryan Boatright. So we just wanted to fill his spot and be aggressive tonight.”
Ollie said he would like to see Daniels put up this type of performance every night.
“I want him to be more consistent,” Ollie said. “He just came out with some fire. I don’t know what he ate, but we’re going to make sure we find out and we’re going to keep him on that same plan.”
“Just stay aggressive every time I’m on the court,” Daniels said on how he can stay consistent. “No matter what, just always stay aggressive. I feel like if I can stay aggressive all the time, I can help the team even more.”
As for reaching his personal expectations on the season so far, Daniels said he felt like he’s doing “alright.”
“I can do a lot more for this team,” he said. “At the end of the day, I just want to win games and get to the NCAA tournament with this team.”
Control the boards, control the game
After getting outrebounded 45-30 by Louisville on Saturday, the Huskies turned the table and grabbed 45 rebounds themselves, as opposed to the Owls’ 25, making it the team’s largest winning margin of rebounding of the season.
“I just told the guys, if we rebound, we win,” Ollie said. “Just commit to hit and they did tonight.”
Temple came in the game with a 36.5-35.4 rebounds per game advantage over UConn as a team, with junior forward Anthony Lee–the conference’s leading rebounder–grabbing 9.9 boards per game himself. Ollie said one of the keys to the game was to keep Lee off the boards. UConn managed to hold Lee to zero rebounds Tuesday night.
“That’s big time,” Ollie said. “[Lee] is not as big as [Montrezl] Harrell [of Louisville], but activity-wise, he’s got a motor just like him… I know those seven guys have played a lot of minutes, so we wanted to make sure we continue to push the pace, push the tempo and get those guys tired.”
Apart from Daniels’ 12 boards, Napier and Lasan Kromah had seven and eight rebounds, respectively.
“It was a team effort today,” Daniels said. “Everybody was going in and rebounding. I felt like that’s what helped us get going. When we rebound and just play our game, we get easy buckets, fast breaks and get into offense more easily.”