First Half: UConn 48 - Temple 34
So, things are obviously going a lot better for the Huskies tonight than they did on Saturday against Louisville. Shabazz Napier has it going again, scoring 15 points while hitting three of his five three-point attempts, but more importantly, the Huskies are getting production out of DeAndre Daniels.
Daniels already has 10 points and three rebounds in the first half, and generally has been infinitely more productive than he was against the admittedly much tougher Louisville frontcourt. Collectively the Huskies are killing Temple in every offensive category. UConn is shooting 59 percent from the floor, compared to Temple's 44 percent, they're leading the rebound battle 20-12, and most surprising, Anthony Lee, Temple's best rebounder and the leading rebounder in the American Athletic Conference at 9.9 rebounds per game, has been held without a board.
By the looks of it, UConn is going to be fine without Ryan Boatright for the rest of this one. We'll have the full game story once this one is over.
Shabazz Napier: 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3-for-5 from three.
DeAndre Daniels: 10 points, 3 rebounds.
Will Cummings: 12 points.
Anthony Lee: 0 rebounds.
Attendance: 32 (rough estimate)
Recap by Mac Cerullo.
KenPom: Overall- 145 (92 Offense, 221 Defense)
2013-'14 Record: 5-11
After a disappointing home loss against Louisville at Gampel, UConn looks to get back to their winning ways against Fran Dunphy's Temple team. This is our first American Conference game at the XL Center and first time playing Temple as a conference opponent. Dunphy took over from legendary coach John Chaney and has been able to turn the team around to the tune of six straight NCAA Tournament berths and multiple A-10 championships.
Unfortunately, this year's Temple team is not on track to keep that streak alive. They've lost eight of their last nine and haven't won in exactly one month- a 36 point win against LIU Brooklyn. They are led by a trio of guards- Senior Dalton Pepper (17.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg), Junior Will Cummings (16.1 ppg, 4.1 apg) and Sophomore Quenton DeCosey (16.4 ppg). 6-foot-9 Junior Anthony Lee is the team's low post threat- averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Shabazz Napier is coming off a career high 30 points in the losing effort, and regardless of today's inferior opponent UConn will need more help from players like DeAndre Daniels- who was invisible on Saturday night after a monster performance against Memphis- and Omar Calhoun, who showed signs of life against Memphis, but went back to his non-existent ways in the Louisville game. Someone is going to need to step up tonight because Junior guard Ryan Boatright will not be playing to join his family in mourning the loss of a cousin who he grew up with. Boatright played the Memphis and Louisville games with a heavy heart, and then left to be with his family through these difficult times. Perhaps we'll see young Terrance Samuel get some run in his absence and hopefully Lasan Kromah, Niels Giffey and Calhoun can help out on the scoring front.
The XL Center is likely to be very, very quiet tonight. Snow has been coming down since morning and UConn isn't running buses from campus to Hartford. Any of the fans who make it to tonight's game deserve season tickets for next year or something.
This is a very weak Temple team we are playing. They've lost to Rutgers, UCF, USF, Texas Southern, and our old friends at Towson. To their credit, they were able to keep games somewhat close against Memphis, Cincinnati and Texas so they may have slightly more bite than advertised. Still, I think despite a near empty XL Center and no Ryan Boatright, the Huskies should win this one comfortably.
Next Three: 1/25 @ Rutgers, 1/30 vs. Houston, 2/6 @ Cincinnati
Prediction: UConn wins 84-62