Men's Basketball: UConn cruises past Maine to improve to 9-0
Huskies top Black Bears, 95-68, in final game before exam break
Published: Friday, December 6, 2013
Updated: Saturday, December 7, 2013 00:12
Four players scored in double figures as No. 12 UConn easily topped Maine, 95-68, Friday night at the XL Center. The Huskies improved to 9-0 on the season for the first time since the 2010-11 championship season.
Ryan Boatright led UConn with 17 points. DeAndre Daniels and Omar Calhoun scored 16 each and Niels Giffey chipped in 12 points off the bench, as the Huskies shot 32-for-60 (53.3 percent) from the field.
“Everybody on the team can really shoot the ball,” said Daniels, who was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field, including three of the team’s season-high 3-pointers on the night. “When teams go zone [defense] on us, we just spread the court, try to attack it into the middle and kick it out to a shooter.”
Calhoun, who scored just nine points in the past five games, finally seemed to shake off his offensive struggles of late.
“I just watched film and saw what I was doing wrong technically with my shot,” said Calhoun, who shot 5-for-12 from the field. “And I got a lot of shots up with coach and the rest of the coaching staff… There were little things that were going on that were messing it up so I just had to get a lot of reps in to get my shot back to where it should be… I knew I was going to have to shoot my way out of the funk I was in.”
Shabazz Napier, Monday night’s hero against Florida, quietly put up seven points and eight assists. Along the way, Napier also became just the fourth player in UConn history to score 1,000 points and dish out 500 assists.
The other three were Doron Sheffer, Taliek Brown and Tate George.
“It’s just a remarkable feat by him,” head coach Kevin Ollie said. “And that’s what you get when you stay here for a long time. You have your opportunity to win and be around great players. You get an opportunity to share the basketball and also make plays too, and he did an outstanding job tonight again.”
The Huskies won the battle on the boards for just the third time this season tonight by the margin of 38-30. Freshman forward Kentan Facey came off the bench and grabbed nine rebounds in 18 minutes of playing.
“He’s one of the guys who hasn’t been getting a lot of playing time,” Ollie said. “It’s not all about the game, it’s about his attitude and how he’s preparing. That shows you he’s ready.”
UConn got off to a lethargic start against Maine’s zone defense and trailed 8-5, after four minutes of action. The Huskies eventually found a way to solve the Black Bears’ defense and took over the game the rest of the way.
“We played against it so much last year that we figured out how to do it and what we need to do to beat those and make [the other team] come out of it,” Boatright said.
The Huskies will now go on a 12-day break for final exams before returning to action against the Stanford Cardinal on Dec. 18 at the XL Center at 9 p.m.