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Postgame Talk: Purvis Disappoints, Nolan Shines in UConn Loss

UConn's fourth-worst shooting night since 1980 and a late floater from Shaq Goodwin ruined Ryan Boatright's Senior Night.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

With a late floater from Shaq Goodwin, Memphis put a damper on UConn's Senior Night Thursday.

Of course, the Huskies did nothing to help themselves, shooting 27.8 percent from the field. That was the Huskies' worst shooting percentage since 1997 and the fourth-worst since 1980.

More heartbreaking still is that the loss dropped UConn to 4-3 at Gampel Pavilion, the program's worst record ever in the 25-year-old arena. The three losses came by a combined three points and were lost in the final 8.1 seconds.

How did things go so wrong for UConn after a win over SMU Sunday? Our experts – Tim Fontenault, Elan-Paolo DeCarlo and Matt Gionfriddo – tried to figure it out.

Tim Fontenault: Last night was a fitting end to the Gampel Pavilion schedule. As it did against Yale and for stretches against Texas, UConn played poorly, but somehow had the lead in the final seconds. Then the other team gets a tough shot to fall to win the game. Gampel was not friendly to UConn this year, even though the atmosphere was incredible at every game.

But you can’t win shooting 27.8 percent. That is inexcusable, especially after that game against SMU. They took way too many contested shots. There were five players trying to run the offense individually. That cannot happen.

I did love Phil Nolan’s game, though. Great showing.

Elan-Paolo DeCarlo: Phil Nolan has shown signs of competence over the last couple weeks and has taken to that second big man role. He's long, active and tries hard, which is really all you need.

I'm really disappointed in Rodney Purvis. Coming off his career high against SMU, the last thing I expected was for him to lay an egg last night. He didn't make a field goal, only made three free throws and played with no confidence. Really poor showing from him.

Fontenault: Rodney can’t be streaky like this, not if UConn wants to win. This is getting out of hand. He has done well lately, and then he has the 28-point explosion. I liked that he wanted to go to the rim, but he overdid it.

Back on Phil, I think he was underrated last year. He was the starting center on a championship team and had to go against some BIG frontcourts in that tournament. Michigan State, Florida and Kentucky were all massive down low. He deserves a lot of credit. Like Ollie told us last night, he is not going to fill up a stat sheet, but he’s going to do a lot of things the right way. He had offensive rebounds, steals, everything. The problem was that no one helped him out.

DeCarlo: I was super impressed with Amida Brimah last night. He was mean and intimidating in the first half. I thought he should have been involved more on the offensive end. As Brimah goes, so goes UConn. They're 9-5 in games when he's in double figures. Only getting five shots from him is a bad sign.

Matt Gionfriddo: Been saying it all year that Nolan is a better defender than people give him credit for and last night now he's hit a jumper in back to back games so that's great to see.

Last night was just so devastating but I guess it solidifies the fact that we need to win the AAC tournament. It would have been nice to be in the conversation for bubble talk but it is what it is.

And then with Rodney, I don't know if he got a little missed up with his head hitting hard on that flagrant 1 but, yeah, not good. Also, I would have liked for Hamilton to be more aggressive since I felt like no one on their team could guard him but then I found out he took 16 shots so I guess he was aggressive enough?

Fontenault: He was fantastic defensively. UConn, as a team, played pretty good defense. They needed to get more looks to Brimah. They took way too many contested shots. I kind of wanted to see a designed play for Brimah at the end. You’ve got no one who can match up with him and you only need the two to win. Worst case: Shaq Goodwin fouls him.

Gionfriddo: Then again, Brimah did only shoot 4 times in the win over SMU and we hung 81 points on them. But I do agree that he could have been an option since we needed someone to pick up the slack for the lack of Purvis. Sometimes he struggles with bigger, physical defenders and that's exactly what Godfrey and Goodwin were.

Fontenault: Godfrey and Goodwin were solid yesterday, but I was even more impressed with Kedren Johnson and Trashon Burrell. Man, they couldn’t miss. Johnson owns UConn. Burrell had a big following there from New York. Seemed like it fueled him.

Gionfriddo: Yup. Burrell played some unbelievable basketball in the second half and Johnson just does what he does against us apparently. He has not been that good all season but both times he goes against UConn, he plays up to his potential. Go figure.

DeCarlo: I hate hanging losses on one player but damn we needed Purvis. He really is a difference maker and when's he gets going, it's really hard to guard this team. This was a game they absolutely should have won.

Gionfriddo: Absolutely. Just give me more than three points, that's it. Three!

On the bright side, what happened to Syracuse is fun.