JOE D’S NOTEBOOK January 12th
SUNDAY- JAN 12: Desperate for a conference win, the UConn men may have pieced together their best all around effort of the season on Saturday at Gampel Pavillion with an 84-61 win over UCF. The key pieces to the win came from a most unlikely source.
Amida Brimah had scored 21 points in total in the last 12 games. On Saturday night, he had a career high 20 to go along with a career high 8 rebounds and 5 blocks. The big fella had gone thru a period where he didn’t see much playing time due to foul trouble and his inexperience. But Saturday night, Brimah was sensational. He scored six straight points in the 10-0 run that put UConn up for good. He played with confidence, with aggression and with a spirit that infused his teammates. Eight of his points were a direct result of offensive rebounds, of which he had six. Three second half buckets were dunks on feeds from Shabazz Napier, who had 11. And Brimah was a factor at the defensive end with five blocks and several altered shots. Combine his numbers with Phil Nolan’s eight points and five rebounds and the Huskies bigs combined for 28 points and 13 rebounds.It’s hard to expect that every night but it is a sign of what the future might hold.
The other key point to the game was the UConn defense. The Huskies continued their performance from the second half of Wednesday nights win over Harvard. Knights star Isiah Sykes had 17 points but needed 14 shots as Lasan Kromah and Neils Giffeye did a solid job on him, Tristan Spurlock, Kasey WIlson and Calvin Newell were also held in check. Kevin Ollie’s preaches defense and it is good defense that will be the backbone behind any success the Huskies have this season.
Now comes potentially the toughest week of the season. Memphis in Tennessee on Thursday and then a 9 pm nationally televised Gampel match-up with Louisville.More on those games later in the week.
Monday night, it’s another edition of the Kevin Ollie show from Rooftop 120 in Glastonbury, then Bob and Deb in Waco as the top ranked UConn women play seventh ranked Baylor.