Just about the time the ball was dropping in New York City on Tuesday, the Huskies were picking up the pieces of a stunning 75-71 loss to Houston.
The Huskies were down by as many as 21 before rallying in the second half as Shabazz Napier scored 25 of his 27 points in the second 20 minutes.
The Huskies (11-2, 0-1 AAC) have a bad habit of playing in fits and starts this year. UConn plays in spurts and that is going both ways. UConn can look unstoppable, or, it can look uninspired. Tuesday night it was both in the same game.
Here's Ryan Boatright in the Hartford Courant on what happened, as is the case most Huskies fans who went out on New Year's Eve want to know.
"They beat us in every category of the game," Boatright told the Courant after his 19 points. "They out rebounded us, out-toughed us. The only reason we came back is because we were more talented, but I give them a lot of credit, the way they played. … We played terrible."It was a head-scratching effort. Napier and Boatright had 27 and 19, and not much else from other places. DeAndre Daniels had 12 points on 3 of 10 shooting in a game that had wild swings.
The UConn box score is a testament to a lopsided effort and game. Napier, Boatright and Daniels combined for 43 of 53 shots. That's not how UConn wants to play.
Omar Calhoun played seven minutes coming off a strong effort against Eastern Washington and took only two shots. Niels Giffey remains hot shooting --2 of 3 -- but needs more volume. The post remains unproductive as Amida Brimah and Phil Nolan were benched and Tyler Olander was the most effective big with two points and five rebounds in 16 minutes.
UConn's penchant for playing in spurts is problematic going forward. UConn has the ability to go on big runs, including a 21-3 run in the second half to tie the game. But, it also goes into funks, which cost them in both losses this year as it squandered a double-digit lead to Stanford and had to rally against Houston. UConn also was down double digits to Washington before winning comfortably.
That's not the consistency that Ollie is looking for. It's also makes the margin of error very fine. Here's Ollie to my co-worker Neill Ostrout.
“You have to play perfect basketball when you get down 21 points. They have to start missing shots and you have to make all your shots,” Ollie said.The Huskies didn't play perfect, and now are 0-1 in the AAC.