TAMPA, Fla. – Some notes, quotes, thoughts from UConn’s 65-51 loss to South Florida.
That’s what this game was. Painful to watch, and for the Huskies, painful literally and figuratively. With the team UConn had on the court, the Huskies just had no chance and, this time, they seemed to know it. The reality set in, and they caved in. USF, one of the Big East’s most offensively-challenged teams, was able to score one easy basket after another as the Huskies stared at each other.
“We broke down mentally,” DeAndre Daniels said. “We stopped playing defense.”
This was a bad loss. But it could be worse on Saturday, against a much improved Providence team. With No Shabazz Napier, no Niels Giffey, no Tyler Olander and no Omar Calhoun, that one could be very painful to watch. And that’s what it looks like right now.
No one would have been disappointed with a 19-win season back in November, but finishing with a four-game losing streak would be a downer. The Huskies, though, are really faced with circumstances beyond their control. You could have guessed back in November that if R.J. Evans had to play 30-plus minutes, the Huskies would be in trouble. That just wasn’t the plan.
Olander injured his left foot and left on crutches. We’ll know tomorrow, but it doesn’t look good. That would leave Phil Nolan with no backup center on Saturday. Nolan played 24 minutes, had two points and six rebounds. To hear Calhoun talk, it doesn’t sound like he’s going to play Saturday.
Jevon Williams of East Hartford, a new walk-on, got into the game and played a minute. Leon Tolksdorf played two minutes. The way Omar Calhoun (1 for 14) was shooting with that wrist injury, you felt like a Tolksdorf might have provided a three-point threat. Brendan Allen played 13 minutes, had one rebound and one free throw, a miss.
Lots more on this game, including the main game story, the UConn notebook, gallery of pics from Stephen Dunn, the box score, are up on our main website. And he complete transcript of Kevin Ollie’s postgame remarks are here.
Don’t forget our live chat Thursday at 10:45 a.m., when we wrap up the season. … I’d just throw this game out the window, given the circumstances, and dwell on the highlights, but I have a feeling that won’t be the case. … Talk soon.