Player of the Game- Ryan Boatright. The senior captain lived up to the hype in the opener. He finished with 28 points, 8 boards, 5 dimes and 4 steals. In the second half, he controlled the flow of the game. Twice, he pick pocketed his man at half court and turned both into dunks on the other end. He made 2 threes, on his way to 16 2nd half points. It was a reminder that the Huskies are in sure hands following the graduation of Shabazz Napier.
Quote of the Night: Bryant coach Tim O'Shea on Amida Brimah "The big fella was an intimidating factor. He's going to be a first round pick someday." Coach, it's hard to disagree with you.
Turning Point of the Game- Trailing 43-41 at the U12 mark, UConn was in real danger of being upset on ring night. That would be unacceptable. However, the Huskies were able to ramp up the defense. Boatright, Terrence Samuel and Daniel Hamilton all started to harass their man at the mid-court stripe. With 11:57 to play, Hamilton stripped Shane McLaughlin, scooped up the rock and threw down a devastating tomahawk jam to tie the game at 43. UConn then went on to take the lead and hold it for the remainder of the game. Hamilton, a 6-foot-6 freshman, has all the tools to be a special player. With plays like this, he won't be long for Storrs.
Play of the Game- Amida Brimah blocked a three pointer. Quite simply, it was one of the most athletic plays I've seen a 7-footer make. The Bryant shooter caught the ball and rose to fire with Brimah lingering around the elbow. He took a step or two and lunged towards the shooter, swatting the ball. This happened right in front of the student section, and they proceeded to lose their minds. I had to restrain myself on press row from screaming with the rest of them. Holy hell is Brimah good. Honorable mention goes to the Terrence Samuel to Kentan Facey alley-oop in garbage time. The two sophomore connected for a thunderous jam that could be a glimpse to the chemistry they've developed.
Concern- Outside shooting. The first half was particularly troublesome. Daniel Hamilton, Ryan Boatright, Terrence Samuel and Sam Cassell Jr. shot a combined 2-11 from three point range in the first half. Bryant went to a zone early in the half, picking up on the Huskies shooting woes. UConn was in real trouble. Samuel, who only took one three pointer all of last season, barely considers taking an outside jumper. He can get to the basket at will, but teams will scout and learn to play off him, forcing him to shoot. Meanwhile Cassell Jr is all too eager to jack one up. It's a good quality when he's feeling it, but for most of the night, he was ice-cold. One of the main concerns entering the season was how the Huskies would replace the shooting void left from the departures of Napier, Niels Giffey and DeAndre Daniels. Tonight, that concern reared its head.