Aside from the emergence of a new force in the American Athletic Conference, UCF’s beefy center Justin McBride, Sunday’s game was about UConn righting it ship.
The Huskies put the disappointment of the Cincinnati loss behind them rather quickly and dispatched the Knights 75-55 Sunday evening at the CFE Arena.
Here are a couple of thoughts from the particulars:
— AFTER ALMOST A week away from home, coach Kevin Ollie was glad to be heading back to CT on a positive note.
“Overall I was pleased. We’ve been on the road a long time. I give these guys credit,” Ollie said.
UConn used a 19-3 run in the first half to take control. What happened?
“Just rebounds. We rebounded and we fast-breaked. Lasan (Kromah) was terrific getting to the rim,” Ollie said. “Not even getting to the rim, he was all over the place.”
— KROMAH SCORED A team-high 17 points (Shabazz Napier also had 17), the most he’s scored since coming to UConn. His career-high at GW was 25.
— AFTER COMING OUT in the second half G Omar Calhoun appeared to be a bit woozy. It seems he had some concussion tests on the sidelines.
“He got banged up. He was seeing stars a little bit and he couldn’t come back in the game,” Ollie said.
— EVERYONE WAS pretty surprised about McBride’s performance.
McBride is a freshman who had only recently returned from offseason knee surgery. Prior to Sunday he had appeared in just four games, had played a total of just 13 minutes and was scoreless.
But against the Huskies McBride made five of his six shots from the floor and scored 13 points in 13 second-half minutes.
The freshman, who is conservatively listed at 6-foot-10 and 350 pounds, also helped cut what had been a 19-point UConn lead down to just eight.
“I wasn’t too worried. We were kind of playing sloppy and the big guy (McBride) was doing whatever he wanted to. It was kind of entertaining,” Napier said. “He came into the game and he was a big guy. It was kind of difficult to get in front of him or get around him.”
The game changed when Napier stole the ball on two straight plays from UCF’s Brandon Goodwin.
“I knew he was trying to go over a screen or something and I did one of my old pick-pocket moves and just took it,” Napier said.
As for the score? Well, Napier says things were under control.
“I wasn’t too worried about that score. I was just trying to get us back to where the coaches were comfortable. I think the players were definitely comfortable on the court,” Napier said.
— AFTER MISSING TWO games in row, DeAndre Daniels returned and started Sunday. He had 16 points and seven rebounds but wasn’t in top form. He missed 10 of his 17 shots.
“It felt good but I was rusty today. I’d give myself a D,” Daniels said. “But we got the W and I was happy just to be back with my teammates.”
His ankle, not to mention his back, didn’t bother him.
“I actually felt pretty good. Everything felt good,” Daniels said.