JOE D’S NOTEBOOK February 9th, 2014
SUNDAY 2-9-14- Late night in Orlando after UConn got back on track with a 75-55 win at Central Florida. It was an interesting night to be sure at CFE Arena on the UCF campus.
After struggling down the stretch at Cincinnati on Thursday, the Huskies channeled their inner Mariano Rivera to close out both halves. After UCF took an 18-17 lead midway thru the 1st half, UConn closed the half of a 24-6 run to take a 17 point lead. The formula was sinmple, good defense, good rebounding and good ball movement. Then in the second half, after massive Justin McBride helped the Knights close a 19 point deficit to 8 at 57-49,UConn closed the game on an 18-6 spurt for the victory,It started with a 3rd chance hoop, then back to back steals by Shabazz Napier and some great decision making by Ryan Boatright.
Napier and Lasan Kromah led the way with 17 apiece and both filled the stat page with numbers. I thought Kromah was the key. He once again played strong defense on Isiah Sykes, and added 7 boards and 4 steals to his point total. It’s impossible to understate Kromah’s value to the team. With Omar Calhoun struggling, Kromah has been incredibly important to this team’s success. He seems to understand what the team needs at any given time. You could say he’s been the key…the Kromah Key…Sorry.
Phil Nolan played the role of Amida Brimah from game one with UCF, scoring 10 points and adding four rebounds. But Phil,Amida and Tyler Olander were helpless to stop mammoth UCF freshman Justin McBride. 6’10 and generously listed at 310 pounds, McBride scored 13 points in 13 minutes in the second half and single hand-idly was the key to the Knights comeback. Who knows what would have happened if he had played in the first half.
Up next, a return to the XL Center for home games with USF on Wednesday and Memphis on Saturday. Hope you can join us, either in person or on the radio.