Player of the Game- Hmmm. How about the sophomore center who set the school record for most baskets made without a miss that set career highs in points and rebounding? Yeah, Amida Brimah was the player of the game. Finishing with 40 points and 12 rebounds on 13-13 FGs and 14-16 on FTs, Brimah was fantastic. At my count, 11 of his field goals were dunks, many of them coming off of lobs to the basket. The 7-footer was simply too big and athletic for the undersized Eagles to deal with. Whether this was a designed game plan or an in-game adjustment, the decision to ride Brimah was a key move. This was Brimah's most productive day of his career, by far, and it could not have come at a better time. UConn will play Duke, and their armada of big men led by Jahlil Okafor. For the Huskies to pull that victory off, they need Brimah to bring a lot of energy to the floor.
Quote of the Day- Daniel Hamilton on how Brimah dominated. "We talk about how we want our big guys to eat, to get theirs. Well, Amida ate a lot today." Young Mr. Hamilton, you are correct. Thanks in part to your lobs, Brimah was feasting out there. Hamilton himself played well, finishing with 11 points and 11 assists. The freshman continues to shine, finding new ways to contribute. His court vision has been extremely impressive for a first year player.
Turning Point of the Game- Really, it was the opening tip. UConn, coming off a three game losing streak, came out with more intensity than they have all year. They opened the game on a 13-2 run, led by a Ryan Boatright 3-pointer, a stolen inbounds, a couple Brimah dunks and a Hamilton layup. UConn let Coppin State know early on that they had no chance of winning the game.
Play of the Game- For how awesome Brimah was, most of his lobs were fairly standard. Hamilton or Boat would just float a high pass over the defense and Brimah just dunked it easily. He had a nice jam, coming down the floor following a blocked shot, but to me, the play of the game belonged to Kentan Facey. Halfway through the first half, Facey found himself alone along the baseline. Sam Cassell Jr. found him with a lob, and Facey threw it down with power and grace.
Concern: Defense. It's broad, I know, but there are two specifics that need to be sorted out. First is the transition defense. Coppin State, a team with limited athletic talent, was able to score easy buckets in transition. Much of the problem was that they forced 18 UConn turnovers, which led to 35 points. That's an unacceptable number that will kill the Huskies against better competition. Duke will devastate you if they get extra possessions.
Also, the perimeter defense in this game was appalling. It could have been a result of laziness, like the Huskies took their foot off the gas on defense because of how easy it was to score, but UConn was awful at defending the three point line. Coppin State made 15-32 from deep, allowing them to keep this game respectable. Giving up 82 points to this squad is a cause for concern what should be a defensively-oriented team.