In what turned into an offensive explosion, the University of Connecticut took care of business today against Coppin State, 106-85.
The driving force behind the Huskies' attack was center Amida Brimah. He finished with a career high 40 points on 13-13 from the field and 14-16 from the foul line. He also grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds. All in all, it was a special performance from a player who has the potential to be a game changer.
Brimah finished with 11 dunks, many of them coming on lobs from from Daniel Hamilton. The two have developed a strong chemistry so far in this early season.
"Every time we had a chance to throw it high to him (Brimah), he seems to catch it," coach Kevin Ollie said. "We established Amida down low, and from there our whole offense opened up."
It was a truly dominant effort from the 7-foot sophomore. His perfect shooting performance set a school record.
"I wasn't worried about that. I just went out with a lot of energy," Brimah said. "I just want to win."
This was a necessary win for the Huskies. Coming off a three game losing streak to West Virginia, Texas and Yale and with Duke looming, UConn needed to get back in the win column. To get it done in this fashion was impressive.
"We were all tired of losing. My job was to go out and set the tone and the tempo early. The plan was to jump on them early," Ryan Boatright said. He finished with 22 points 4 rebounds 3 assists and 3 steals.
UConn saw quality production across the roster. Hamilton finished with 11 points and 11 assists. Kentan Facey added 15 points and rebounds, making hustle plays all day. Rodney Purvis played 21 minutes, making 2 three pointers.
UConn finished 38.9% on three-pointers, well above their season average of 27.7%.
"We shot the ball with confidence, which is what we have to do. There's a sign in the gym that says 'Trust your talent' that's something I remind our guys all the time. We need to keep hitting outside shots, every game," Ollie said.
The Huskies put it all together offensively, but the other side of the floor was a disaster. Coppin State came into the game averaging under 72 ppg in their losses. Maybe the Huskies lacked focus due to the fact that they led for 39 of the 40 minutes, but UConn's defense was sloppy. Coppin State was able to expose two big weaknesses, perimeter and transition defense. They finished with 35 points off of turnovers and shot 15-32 from downtown. That kind of defense will expose UConn against more talented opponents, Duke in particular is a team that loves to run and shoot the three.
"It's embarrassing for us to give up 85 points to them. That's not UConn defense," Boatright said.
Although this was a resounding victory, it wasn't perfect. The Huskies have a marquee test on Thursday at the Izod Center against Duke. This victory was a nice confidence boost. Let's see how it carries over.
UConn is now 4-3 on the season.