A little better but…

Syracuse's Fab Melo, right, blocks the shot by Connecticut's Andre Drummond during the second half Saturday. (AP Photo/KevinRivoli)

One game after getting pounded by 21, UConn got beat by 18. It’s not as simple as that, of course. The Huskies were much better in Saturday’s 85-67 loss to Syracuse than they were against Louisville.

Still, a loss is a loss. And that’s losses in six of the last seven games and eight of the last 11 for UConn.

— UConn was down just two with 6:26 to play. But Syracuse ended the game with a 22-6 run to make the game a blowout.

Jeremy Lamb’s dunk with 6:52 to play in the game was nearly UConn’s last field goal. It ended up with one more, a meaningless 3 in the final seconds.

“I think we definitely fought this game. There were plenty of times when they hit us and we hit back,” said Lamb, who scored 18 points. “They stretched it out but the game wasn’t as bad as the score says.”

Said Ryan Boatright (14 points, 5 assists): “Of course it’s a negative because we lost but I think we can turn this into a positive, understand that the season’s not over with and we’re playing well. If we come to play like that every night we’ll be a tough team to beat.”

— Things may have gone a bit differently if Andre Drummond hadn’t been forced to the locker room after twisting his right ankle.

“It’s frustrating. I was just getting it going, too,” Drummond said. “We could have had this game. It really killed everything. We had the momentum going and that kind of slowed us down a little bit.”

As for the ankle, Drummond was limping pretty badly after the game.

“It’s a little sore but I’m not going to stress on it,” Drummond said. “I’m going to get back to school and take care of it.”

What happened?

“I think I blocked the ball. Shabazz (Napier) went for the ball. I was getting ready to dive for it but he already grabbed it. I tried to stop myself and I like turned it the wrong way. My ankle just twisted.”

It looked really bad at first.

“When it happened I thought it was broken or something like that,” Drummond said. “It hurt like crazy.”

Drummond went to the locker room and was checked by UConn’s medical staff (trainer James Doran and Dr. Jeff Anderson, among others). He didn’t have X-rays it seems.

“We didn’t get X-rays but if I can run, it can’t be that bad,” Drummond said. “They said the most it could be is a bruise.

— The crowd of 33,430 was the largest college basketball gathering of the season and the fourth-largest crowd in Carrier Dome history.

— UConn associate head coach George Blaney praised Napier’s leadership.

“Shabazz, as far as his leadership is concerned, it was the best he’s been since he’s been with us,” Blaney said. “I thought he kept us all together. I thought he pushed the ball great when we had opportunities to go on the break.”

— Lamb was 6-for-15 but Blaney would have liked a few more shots from his star.

“I would have liked to have Jeremy a little more ready to pull the trigger,” Blaney said. “I think he passed up probably four or five shots. I don’t think that he thinks he’s shooting the ball well. So I think he’s passing up to get a better shot. I don’t care. I want him shooting open shots.”

— Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, for one, believes UConn’s season isn’t doomed.

“They’re a good team,” Boeheim said. “I would not count them out. There’s still a lot of time to go.”

He also knows not having Jim Calhoun may have made a difference today.

“It’s obvious he’s one of the great coaches of all time,” Boeheim said. “If he’s not there, it makes a difference.”

DeAndre Daniels got the old DNP-Coaches Decision Saturday. Three guards were playing well so tough to find a spot for Daniels and Niels Giffey. Giffey played six minutes.

Neill

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About Neill

Neill Ostrout covers the UConn men's basketball team for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester. He has been a member of the "Horde" for more than 16 years.
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