UConn 77, Colgate 63: AHHHHHHHH

So that was something.

UConn won fairly comfortably over Colgate, despite trailing for much of the latter part of the first half. The Huskies won, 77-63, thanks in large part to a solid shooting night, one big run midway through the second half and, of course, Sticks. Everybody's favorite suddenly-consistent wing scored 18 points on eight shots, and UConn suddenly looks a lot more dangerous when he's scoring with regularity.

As noted by our commenters in the liveblog, you can't run an offense through Sticks, but damned if he won't find new and interesting ways to score. See above video.

Also: AHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Other good things:

1) Jamal Coombs-McDaniel (now and forever referred to on this blog as Tuff McJuice, to shamelessly ape Caron Butler) hit a couple 3's and showed that he could give UConn the offensive perimeter presence it desperately needs. His line: a Rashad Anderson-like 3-for-6 from the field, all 3-pointers. The Huskies as a team shot 42.1% from 3, which I will take every day and twice on Sunday.

2) Five players in double figures - love that balance. Of note: UConn's primary post players, Robinson and Gavin Edwards, scored 32 points on 15-of-16 from the field.

3) The press! (In the first half, anyway.) Colgate turned it over 14 times in the first half, a testament to a pretty outstanding press run with five flat-out athletes.

That being said, we're now two games in and the warning signs are blaring. Namely:

1) Perimeter. Defense. Colgate shot 50 percent from 3. Last year's team had this problem, too. I'll leave it to someone better versed in the X's and O's (like, say, Coach Cal) to analyze all the defensive mistakes, even if the overall defensive numbers weren't terrible (Colgate shot under 50 percent from inside the arc). But...

2) Rebounding. There's no reason Colgate should ever be minus-2 on the boards against UConn (29-27). The Red Raiders turned 12 offensive rebounds into 20 second-chance points, and that just cannot happen against better teams. Just goes to show that life is, indeed, tougher without the world's largest man standing under the basket.

As always, we'll look at the calendar, note that Thanksgiving is still 10 days away, and silently nod. After all, despite all the struggles, the Huskies advanced in the Preseason NIT AND gave Jim Calhoun plenty of ammunition to yell at everyone. There's a lot to fret about and nitpick - and I'm not certain that UConn will ever master the 2-3 zone - but this team is not close to being a finished product. We'll learn a lot more about this team in the next few weeks as the competition jumps up a notch.

And, most importantly of all, everyone was entertained by the utter insanity of what was our most popular edition of TheLiveBlog ever. We'll be back for tomorrow's NIT second-rounder with Hofstra to talk about cats sucking on Snuggies, give players wacky nicknames and, if time permits, observe the actual game on the court. Live blog starts at 6:45 for the 7 p.m. tip, so join the cool crowd and come on over.

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