Wednesday, January 05, 2011


The highlight of Tuesday night's Big East schedule was a Top-15 battle in South Bend (IN) between Notre Dame and Connecticut. Jim Calhoun's club opened the scoring with a three-pointer by freshman Jeremy Lamb to take a 3-0 lead. However, the Irish would run off 13 consecutive points to take a 13-3 lead, a lead they would never give up.

"I thought we did an incredibly poor job opening the game, allowing three-point shots to get them into a rhythm," Calhoun said following the game.

Tim Abromaitis started the barrage with a three to make the score 7-3 and then Scott Martin connected on a pair of three's just 30 seconds a part to punctuate the run and put the Irish ahead by 10 just 3:31 into the game.

Connecticut was forced to play catch-up all night and twice cut the Irish lead to two points in the first half, but each time the Irish would respond and add a little more cushion. The half ended with another Abromaitis three-pointer to give the Golden Domers a 38-30 halftime lead.

The Irish, not a particularly deep team under Mike Brey, were shorthanded as starting forward Carleton Scott was out with a hamstring injury. Scott is the team's third leading scorer, second leading rebounder and leader in blocked shots, but the Irish stepped up physically in the challenge against the Huskies.

"They physically handled us getting over screens," said Calhoun. "They physically handled us during rebounds. They pushed and bumped us. We all know this is a very physical league and they did a nice job with it. I think this is the most physical defensive team Mike (Brey) has had and obviously offensively they did a great job."

Notre Dame won the battle of the boards with a 36-33 rebounding edge. Starting in place of Scott was freshman Eric Atkins, a point guard out of Baltimore (MD). Atkins scored just seven points, but he directed the offense and contributed five assists without a turnover, drawing the praise from the Hall of Fame coach on the other sideline.

"I thought that Notre Dame did a great job, especially with (Carleton) Scott out and (Eric) Atkins played well against a pressure defense," said Calhoun.

The Huskies started out the second half with a 9-2 run, capped off by a pair of Kemba Walker buckets, and suddenly drew within a point of the Irish. The Irish had the answer each time, however, and kept their lead throughout and their own 9-2 run pushed their lead to 11, 64-53, with 5:31 left after a Ben Hansbrough steal and lay-up.

Hansbrough scored five of his game-high 21 points in that run and took on the challenge of defending Walker, the leading scorer in the BIG EAST. Walker scored 19 in the contest, but took 23 shots in doing so. His streak of 11 consecutive games of scoring more than 20 points was ended by the Irish and Hansbrough.

"I told Ben Hansbrough that it was a heck of a workout to guard Walker and then score 21 points while making key plays," Mike Brey said after the game. "Ben has been a man, but tonight he was the ultimate man on both ends of the floor."

Still, the young Huskies would not go away. Freshman Shabazz Napier hit a clutch three, sophomore Jamal Coombs-McDaniel also connected on a three-pointer and, of course, Walker made clutch plays as well. A pair of Walker free-throws with 22 seconds left brought UConn to within two at 70-68.

Abromaitis would make one of two foul shots and after a Walker miss on a three-pointer, Tyrone Nash would connect on a pair from the charity stripe for a 73-68 lead. Napier would draw UConn back to within a possession with a pair of foul shots of his own and the Huskies had new life after Abromaitis missed a pair of free throws with nine seconds left. The forward was an 87% shooter from the line a year ago but is now just seven of 14 on the season.

Connecticut was unable to make Notre Dame pay for their failure to put the game away as a long three-point attempt to tie by Napier missed badly.

"We are a young team, but I also thought they did what they needed to do to win," said Calhoun. "I thought we tried to tire them out and it did show up in their missed free throws. We still had a chance to win right down until the last nine seconds when we came down the court and didn't see Kemba (Walker) wide open."

Napier finished with 18 points and freshman Roscoe Smith added 11 in support of Walker's 19 for the Huskies. Another area of missing production for UConn was in the post as Alex Oriakhi was held scoreless before fouling out in 23 minutes of action and starting power forward Charles Okwandu added just two points.

UConn, which falls to 1-2 in the Big East, now must step out of conference and visit Texas on Saturday for a marquee non-conference match-up. The Longhorns are ranked No. 12 in the country and playing very well right now. The Huskies are 4-2 all-time against the Longhorns after defeating then-top ranked Texas 88-74 at Gampel Pavilion last season.


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Tuesday, December 28, 2010


The 2010-2011 Big East regular season got underway on Monday night in Pittsburgh as No. 4 Connecticut tried to do what seven teams previously ranked in the top-5 failed to do before them - come into the Peterson Events Center and emerge with a victory. Pittsburgh was having none of that as the Panthers, ranked No. 6 in the country themselves, never trailed en route to a 78-63 win over the Huskies.

UConn entered the game as one of just eight unbeatens in the country at 10-0, but their first true road game of the season proved to be too tough against the experienced Pitt squad.

"We allowed a team, a very good team by the way, who plays very good defense to take us out of a lot of things that we did," Jim Calhoun said afterwards. "We lost some of the swagger that we needed to have to win the game.”

The Panthers, energized by a standing-room only crowd of 12,725, came out smoking with a 16-7 lead before the game was five minutes old, highlighted by a Gilbert Brown alley-oop slam off a pass in transition by fellow senior Brad Wanamaker. Six different players scored for Jamie Dixon's team in the opening five minutes and once the game settled down, it was the Pitt defense that took over the contest.

"First thing, I want to compliment Jamie," said Calhoun. "He had his team ready defensively and that’s what started it. I thought they just locked us up defensively. We aren’t a young team, but they made us make young plays."

The Huskies managed to connect on just 31.7% of their shots for the game and suffered through a 7:30 stretch in the second-half without a field goal.

With his young teammates struggling in what was their first Big East contest for many of them, Kemba Walker tried in vain to keep pace with the balanced Panthers. Walker, who entered the contest leading the NCAA in scoring with 26.5 points a game, scored 31 points and his personal 8-0 run over 1:59 cut a 15-point deficit to just seven, 62-55, with 5:29 left.

Walker would not score again and the Panthers answered the challenge with an 11-4 run and a pair of Travon Woodall free throws with 2:16 left capped the run, securing Pitt's 17th straight home victory, improving to 8-0 all-time at the Peterson Events Center against top-5 teams and their fourth win in the last five meetings with UConn.

"I thought we executed very well on both ends of the floor, and I really liked that we took good shots," said Jamie Dixon.

Pitt shot 52% from the field (25-48) and registered 19 assists on their 25 made field goals in the game. Ashton Gibbs led the way with 21 points and 7 assists while Brad Wanamaker added 14. The Panthers' starting frontcourt of Gary McGhee and Nasir Robinson also stood tall against the opposition.

"We moved the ball well and got our big guys some inside touches when they were in good position to really attack the basket," said Dixon. "I thought we were able to take better shots than they did on the interior, which is excellent because UConn has a very good post offense."

McGhee finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks while Robinson, making his first start of the season, finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists.

"He brings energy to the floor and he’s got that motor in him and it helps getting him on the floor early," said Gibbs of Robinson. "He’s real aggressive and he grabs a lot of rebounds."

Despite scoring 31 points, Kemba Walker had to work constantly for his opportunities. Before his individual run made things interesting, the UConn guard was just five of 18 from the field. He finished 10 of 27 in the game and was the only Husky in double figures.

"Kemba Walker is going to score, we just need to make him take tough shots,” said Dixon.

Walker made tough shots, but also forced some too as Pitt gave him some extra attention defensively, possibly a blueprint for other teams to follow ahead on the schedule.

“He made some tough shots and took the ball to the basket," said Wanamaker. "He’s a great player, but I thought we gave a good overall team effort on defense.”

UConn must now rebound from their first loss of the season. South Florida comes to Storrs for a New Year's Even contest and then the Huskies hit the road for a Jan. 4 meeting at Notre Dame and a non-conference date at Texas on Jan. 8. In the meantime, Jim Calhoun will look to find some more balance for his club.

“I think the way we sort of stayed in the game, but couldn’t get over the hump was that Kemba [Walker] saw that he had to pick-up too much of the burden," Calhoun said.

Freshman Jeremy Lamb had 9 points and 8 rebounds. Other than Walker, Lamb was the only UConn player with more than two made field goals (3-8 from field). The frontcourt, especially sophomore Alex Oriakhi, drew most of the Hall of Fame coach's ire afterwards.

"Bottom line is that our front court has got to play a lot better than that," said Calhoun. "Team wise we need to be tougher. We need to be mentally tougher. That’s the whole game.

I love Alex to death. He’s not playing well. I think he has a chance to be a very good player. He’s not playing like the player that he is capable of being."

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Friday, December 03, 2010


UConn junios point guard record triple-double in Friday night win

Kemba Walker entered the Connecticut vs. UMBC contest Friday night at the XL Center in Hartford (CT) as the nation's leading scorer. He showed he is more than just the top scorer in the land by registering his first career triple-double in UConn's 94-61 victory.

The junior guard had 24 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists setting the pace in the victory before 10,591 fans.

"When you see a guy averaging 30 points a game pass up on layups to give other people shots...I know everyone is praising Kemba, but he's deserving of that praise....It's actually phenomenal. He's capable of so many different things," UConn coach Jim Calhoun said following the game.

The win was the 830th of Calhoun's Hall of Fame career, tying former Mount St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan for sixth place on the career list.

"There's categories that you love being in," Calhoun said. "I love being in the category of guys who coached an awful lot of games and had a fair amount of success at it."

However, the story of the night belonged to Walker whose triple-double was the eighth in UConn history, and the first since Hasheem Thabeet did it on Jan. 31, 2009, against Providence.

"That's kind of special to be one of eight," said Walker. "There are a lot of great players who could have accomplished that. I was fortunate enough to do it. It's definitely special."

Freshmen Jeremy Lamb (12 points), Niels Giffey (11) and Roscoe Smith (11) also recorded double-figures in scoring as did the sophomore tandem of Alex Oriakhi (11) and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel (10). Each know that it is Walker setting the table.

"He could come out and get 50 if he wanted. He could get 20 assists if he wanted. Tonight he was telling us he was going to get us involved and we were able to knock down shots for him. And he got his triple-double, so we're happy for him," said Jeremy Lamb.

"The eyes are on him," added Niels Giffey. "He gives us space. Like my shots were free. I was totally free. He's creating space for us and giving us good assists."

The Huskies, ranked No. 7 in the country, host Fairleigh Dickinson at Gampel Pavilion on Wednesday evening before breaking for exams when they return to action on December 20th. One player that certainly does not need a break is Walker.

"Kemba Walker is just phenomenal," said UMBC coach Randy Monroe. "His team feeds off of his energy and passion."

With Big East play looming by month's end, Kemba will need to continue to roar loud and lead his young pups to battle. It looks like Kemba is up to the challenge.

(Quotes Courtesy of www.uconnhuskies.com)


Don't forget the Big East fan on your holiday shopping list with tickets to the 2011 Big East Tournament Ticketsicon this March in Madison Square Garden. See our 2011 Big East Tournament & Tickets page for more details.


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Thursday, December 10, 2009


The headline match-up of the 2009 SEC/Big East Invitational did not disappiont as John Calipari's Cats Hold off Huskies (NY Post) at Madison Square Garden in Kentucky's 64-61 win over Connecticut.

Highly touted freshman John Wall, a near lock for the #1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, matched the hype that has been bestowed upon him by scoring 25 points and harassing UConn with six steals. Wall Was the Difference in an Amazing Game (Hartford Courant) as Jim Calhoun's No. 14 Huskies Fall Short to No. 4 Kentucky in a Thriller (TheDay.com).

Wall got UK off and running, thrilling the crowd with an end-to-end lay-up and finishing an alley-oop on a break as he scored six of the Wildcats' 12 points in an opening 12-0 spurt to start the game in the first three minutes. After using two timeouts, including one 33 seconds into the game where Calhoun pulled senior Jerome Dyson from the game, UConn responded with a 20-6 run to take the lead. UConn led by as many as eight points in the first half and took a 29-23 lead at the half as UK was slowed by foul trouble.

In the second half UConn Crashed into the Wall (New Haven Register) full bore as the star frosh scored 11 of UK's 14 points to pull out the victory.

“He’s all of that, whatever that is,” Jim Calhoun said of Wall after the game. “He’s a tremendous, tremendous player. He’s no freshman.”

Wall scored one big basket after another over the final 7 1/2 minutes, including a conventional three-point play with 30.8 seconds left that put Kentucky (9-0) ahead for good, 63-61. The Huskies could not come up with a big score of their own in the final seconds and a Ramone Harris free throw provided the final margin of victory.

Dyson led UConn with 17 points, Gavin Edwards had 16 points, 8 rebounds and three blocked shots, Kemba Walker scored 12 and Stanley Robinson added 10 points and 9 rebounds. Connecticut, which turned the ball over 19 times and missed 10 of 24 free throw attempts, falls to 6-2 on the regular season with both losses come on the Madison Square Garden floor. The also lost to Duke last month at MSG in the finals of the NIT Tip-off Tournament.

The Huskies are now off until December 20th when they wrap up the pre-conference schedule with UCF, Maine and Iona before starting Big East play at Cincinnati on December 30th.


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Monday, December 07, 2009


Jerome Dyson filled the stat sheet on Sunday afternoon and Connecticut needed just about every ounce of his big day as the Huskies Get Away With Another Inconsistent Performance (TheDay.com), edging Tommy Amakers' Harvard club 79-73 in Storrs.

Dyson finished with 24 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks as Inconsistent UConn Holds off Harvard (Hartford Courant) and Crimson senior guard Jeremy Lin, who torched UConn for 30 points.

The Huskies saw a 16-point lead whittled to four as Lin (22 of his 30 in the second half) led the charge. However, the experienced players for UConn stepped up and secured the victory. Kemba Walker added 10 points, Stanley Robinson provided 18 points and 12 rebounds with Gavin Edwards scored 12 and blocking 6 shots as the quartet, with Dyson, scored 74 of the 79 points scored by Jom Calhoun's club.

Coming up this week for UConn is a date with Kentucky on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden in the SEC/Big East Invitational.


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Thursday, December 03, 2009



HARTFORD--The sight was alarmingly familiar, and that's what made it all the more frightening for the Connecticut Huskies.

Jerome Dyson, the Huskies' best player--Jim Calhoun's description after the Huskies' 92-64 blowout of Boston University--landed awkwardly during the opening moments of the second half.

"I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous seeing that," said UConn forward Gavin Edwards, who scored 12 points and ripped down nine rebounds.

Dyson stayed down for a few minutes, and it was tremendously similar to the scene that played out last February against Syracuse.

That's when Dyson, who's averaging over 20 points to lead the No.13-ranked Huskies, knocked knees with Syracuse's then-forward Kristof Ongeneat.

An MRI later revealed Dyson had a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee, an injury which sidelined him for the season.

"We were just hoping 'rome would come back," said point guard Kemba Walker of the tense few minutes when Dyson was down on the floor.

"We can't afford that (loss) this season. Everybody was just praying that he would come back."

That Dyson did, emerging from the bench four minutes later to a standing ovation at the XL Center.

"I knew when I rolled over that nothing was wrong," Dyson said.

"I knew initially that it was my groin area, but when everybody ran out, they thought it was my (knee) again."

Dyson was dominant Wednesday night, scoring 22 points and dishing out four assists as the Huskies (5-1) overcame a sloppy start.

Dyson scored the rock in a variety of ways. He was burying mid-range jumpers, knifing to the basket, and hitting from beyond the arc.

After shooting 3-for-9 from the free throw line in a nightmare of a performance during a loss to Duke, Dyson bounced back. He knocked down all but two of his nine free throws.

The UConn backcourt bludgeoned the injury-plagued Terriers, who were forced to play with just six scholarship players.

The Terriers (2-6) were without star guard Corey Lowe (inflammation in the right knee) and 6-foot-9 forward Scott Brittain (concussion).

Walker scored 15 points and doled out a career-high 10 assists.

The New York City native was also impressive defensively, with three steals. He ran the show, setting up fast breaks. Walker got just about everyone open looks, including freshman Jamal Coombs-McDaniel (12 points, 7 rebounds in 20 minutes).

"Kemba clearly could have had 15-16 assists if some of the big guys didn't drop the ball," said Calhoun.

Calhoun was most impressed with the Huskies' work on the glass. The Huskies outrebounded the undermanned Terriers to the tune of 54-29.

"When you beat a team on the backboard by 25, that's a significant number," said Calhoun.

"I think the stat sheet is starting to look a little more normal for us. I do understand that BU was down a couple players. But you know what, we played an 0-6 Colgate team and certainly didn't put up the kind of numbers we did tonight."

Edwards, Stanley Robinson, and hulking freshman Alex Oriakhi each tore down nine boards apiece.

Edwards said that with the Huskies' notably thin frontline (6-10 freshman Ater Majok is eligible in just under three weeks) and the results from the first five games, UConn made a concentrated effort to hit the boards harder.

"Every UConn team has been known for being able to rebound and then get out on the fast break and we haven't really been doing that," Edwards said.

The high-flying Robinson, who scored 16 points, was having a quiet night until he erupted for four gravity-defying dunks in the second half.

His eye-popping alley-oop slam from Walker's lob kick-started a 10-2 surge that gave UConn an insurmountable 68-39 lead.

A washout ensued.

The Huskies reeled off a 10-1 run to seize a 25-16 lead early on.

Walker buried a trey to kick-start the run. BU forward John Holland, who had a game-high 23 points, thwarted the spurt with a layup.

Early on, it looked as if UConn was going to put together another lackluster performance at home.

BU guard Tyler Morris, a three-point sniper who played at Indiana powerhouse Lawrence North HS (see Oden, Greg or Conley, Mike, or Louisville-commits for more on Lawrence North) nailed a trey and a jumper on back-to-back possessions, giving the Terriers an 8-7 edge 4:42 into the game.

The Terriers, or the walking wounded, seized an 11-9 lead on a four-point play from Holland.

The Huskies continued to trail, 13-9, before Robinson crushed home a two-handed dunk plus the foul at 12:19. This lit a fire underneath the Huskies.

One way or the other, Dyson was the story Wednesday.

"When he feels it, he's just so tough," said Calhoun of the Huskies' top dog.

"If he pulled a groin, it would have been some time. Certainly he would have missed a few games or may have been out 2-3 weeks. The way he's playing and starting our season, we can't afford that."


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Monday, November 09, 2009


Courtesy of NBE Basketball Report

After a brief delay as the NCAA was awaiting some documentation from Connecticut guards Donnell Beverly and Jerome Dyson, who were both held out of UConn's exhibition win over American International College last week, Compliance Clears Dyson and Beverly (ESPN) for the 2009-2010 season and a Patched-up Dyson Scores 32 in UConn's Final Preseason Tune-up (Stamford Advocate) on Sunday.

Dyson, who was chomping at the bit to see his first game action since suffering a season-ending knee injury last February 11th and being held out of the opening exhibition game for compliance matters, almost missed his opportunity on Sunday, too. A couple hours prior to the game Dyson Rips Apart his Big Toe Entering Gampel Pavilion (Hartford Courant) and had to get the nail stiched back on, a shot to numb the pain and have the toe heavily bandaged just to play. The result, 32 points, 6 assists and 4 steals in 27 minutes in an 88-50 win over UMass-Lowell.

Point guard Kemba Walker added 15 points and 7 assists and freshman Alex Oriakhi continues to put his stamp on the starting center position by scoring nine points and grabbing 14 rebounds in 32 minutes. UConn will open their season Friday night against William & Mary at Gampel Pavilion.


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