Defense Leads No. 24 UConn In 83-40 Victory Over USF
February 13, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
UCONN ATHLETICS RELEASE
HARTFORD, Conn. - University of Connecticut junior forward DeAndre Daniels (Los Angeles, Calif.) scored 12 points in just 23 minutes and freshman forward Kentan Facey (Trelawny, Jamaica) added 10 points for the 24th-ranked Huskies, who defeated USF, 83-40, in front of a crowd of 10,553 at the XL Center Wednesday night. UConn improves to 19-5 overall and 7-4 in conference play with the win.
UConn had all the points it needed to beat South Florida by halftime, as the Huskies' defense held the Bulls to just 12 baskets on 50 shots. Musa Abdul-Aleem had eight points for South Florida (12-13, 3-9), which has lost three of its last four games.
They were never in this one.
UConn freshman center Amida Brimah (Accra, Ghana) opened the game with the first of his six blocked shots. The 7-footer also had two dunks in the first 2 minutes as the Huskies ran out to an early 8-0 lead. He finished with nine points.
UConn held the Bulls to just four baskets in the first half and led by 31 after a dunk by graduate student Lasan Kromah (Greenbelt, Md.) just before the halftime buzzer. The Huskies opened the second half on a 17-3 run and led by as many as 47.
"We just kept it rolling," said UConn coach Kevin Ollie. "We packed the paint and everybody who stepped on the court got a basket and I think that's amazing."
The Huskies had 12 players make it into the scoring column and no starter played more than 25 minutes. UConn had 24 assists on its 28 baskets.
"We feel like we're one of the best teams in the nation and we can beat anybody," said Daniels. "Once we play UConn basketball and we play defense like we did today, we'll beat anybody."
Senior point guard Shabazz Napier (Roxbury, Mass.), who had seven points and five rebounds while playing just 18 just minutes, moved into UConn's top-ten scoring list. He passed Donyell Marshall with his first points and Khalid El-Amin with a 3-pointer that made it 13-3.
The Huskies held the Bulls without a field goal for a stretch of more than 6 1/2 minutes during a 16-0 run put the Huskies up 33-7.
Kromah's dunk pushed the lead to 31 points and an alley-oop dunk by Facey pushed the lead over 40 at 59-17. The Bulls shot just 17 percent from the floor before intermission and Martino Brock even managed to shoot an air-ball on a free throw.
"We took some bad shots, tough decisions," said USF coach Stan Heath. "It seemed like at some point in time we would have figured out that challenging Brimah was probably not a good thing."
Victor Rudd, who came in averaging 15 points for USF, was held to just one basket and nine points.
Connecticut has won eight of its last 10 games and is 12-2 at home, while South Florida fell to 5-4 on the road.
The Bulls have not beaten a ranked opponent in two years, since a February 2012 upset at Louisville.
Connecticut was missing two of its key reserves. Senior forward Tyler Olander (Mansfield, Conn.) missed the game with the flu, and sophomore guard Omar Calhoun (Brooklyn, N.Y.) also didn't play after suffering a concussion on Sunday.
South Florida played without point guard Anthony Collins who hasn't played in the last 15 games because of a left knee injury.
Connecticut came into the game holding opponents to just over 64 points a game. Their last four opponents have averaged just over 50.
"I think we've been holding guys to a combined 33 percent," said Ollie. "I want to keep this momentum going. I want to make sure we play defense. I just tell the guys to bring their locks."
UConn is back at the XL Center Saturday for a showdown with No. 20 Memphis, who the Huskies have already beaten once this season, a 10-point win in Tennessee last month. Tipoff is set for 12 p.m. and the game can be seen on ESPN and heard on the UConn IMG Radio Network.