PREPARING FOR BATTLE
Huskies to take on Scarlet Knights
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 25, 2013 11:01
After a 2-1 start to begin Big East play, Connecticut has suffered back-to-back losses to No.1 Louisville and Pittsburgh. UConn looks to end its two-game losing streak Sunday at 2 p.m. as the Huskies host conference rival Rutgers at the XL Center.
The Huskies enter Sunday 12-5 overall and 2-3 in the Big East.
Junior Shabazz Napier was limited in the 69-61 loss at Pittsburgh because of a left shoulder injury suffered early in the first half of the game against Louisville on Jan. 14. Despite scoring just eight points, he still leads the team in scoring, three-point percentage, free throw percentage, steals and defensive rebounds.
Napier was held out of practice on Wednesday but is expected to fully participate in practice Saturday and will be ready for Sunday’s game.
After several off-court distractions last season, Ryan Boatright has proved to be a lightning rod for the Huskies. After trailing Pittsburgh by as many as 14, Boatright led the comeback charge as the Huskies tied the game late in the second half before running out of gas. The sophomore guard finished with a game-high 20 points to go along with six assists, four rebounds and four steals.
Sophomore DeAndre Daniels has also improved immensely from last season. After averaging just 3.1 points per game a year ago, Daniels has scored 10.5 ppg this season, has led the team in rebounding seven times and is the only Husky to grab double-digit rebounds.
The Huskies have only out-rebounded their opponent four times and have won all four of those games. UConn’s - 4.1 rebounding margin is second worst in the Big East, only ahead of South Florida.
Freshman Omar Calhoun also averages in double figures with 10.9 points in 30 minutes per game. The highly touted guard out of Brooklyn certainly has the confidence to be the next great New York City guard at UConn.
“I know what I can do on the court,” Calhoun said. “I feel like there isn’t anyone stopping me besides me stopping myself.”
For the Scarlet Knights, they are looking to repeat the dismantling of the Huskies from last season. During former Head Coach Jim Calhoun’s suspension for NCAA violations, Rutgers pulled away late to preserve a 67-60 win at the RAC. Eli Carter scored a team-high 19 points to snap UConn’s ten-game winning streak in the series. The Huskies still holds a 17-2 edge in the regular season series.
As a sophomore, Carter leads the Scarlet Knights in scoring with 15.6 points per game. But he has proved to be a bit erratic; he has turned the ball over 49 times and shoots just 38 percent from the field. He shot just 1 for 14 in Wednesday’s 72-60 loss to St. John’s.
Rutgers (12-6 overall, 3-4 Big East) has loss three out of their last four games with the lone win coming over USF. The Scarlet Knights join the Huskies and seven other teams separated by just one game of each other in the Big East standings.
Sunday’s game can be seen on SNY and heard on WHUS 91.7.After a 2-1 start to begin Big East play, Connecticut has suffered back-to-back losses to No.1 Louisville and Pittsburgh. UConn looks to end its two-game losing streak Sunday at 2 p.m. as the Huskies host conference rival Rutgers at the XL Center.