In front of a very loud crowd on Monday night at a sold out Gampel Pavilion, the sophomore trio of Craig Austrie, Marcus Johnson and Jeff Adrien led the UCONN Huskies to a 67-60 victory over the Syracuse Orangemen. Austrie led the way for the Huskies with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists while Adrien chipped in with 12 points, 12 rebounds and added 3 blocks on the defensive end. Johnson came off the bench to score 10 points. AJ Price and Jerome Dyson rounded out the Huskies in double figures with 12 and 10 points respectively. Syracuse was led by Demetris Nichols, who had 2o points and Paul Harris and Eric Devondorf, who both added 13 points for the Orange.
Syracuse got out to a 16-9 lead early in the first half as the Huskies struggled from the field. UCONN held the Orange scoreless for the next 5 minutes to take the lead at 17-16 until a Paul Harris jump shot got Syracuse back in front. UCONN scored the last 3 points of the first half to close it out with a 1 point lead at 28-27.
As the second half got under way, there were six lead changes between the two teams as they traded baskets. UCONN took the lead for good with 5:43 to go at 58-57 as they held Syracuse to 3 points the rest of the game. Syracuse’s last field goal actually came at around the 7 minute mark and they went without a field goal the rest of the way.
Read the notes and observations after the jump.
Notes and Observations:
- The starters were Austrie, Dyson, Robinson, Thabeet, and Adrien.
- The game was a “white out” game. The fans were given white t-shirts to wear so that everyone would be dressed in white.
- I am now 4-0 when in attendance. I am 2-0 at the Hartford Civic Center and 2-0 at Gampel. As painful as it is for me with my back troubles, it is still worth it to see a game in person. If I was physically able to attend more games, I would.
- Not counting the two wins on ESPNU earlier this season, this was UCONN’s first win on national television. I don’t count the ESPNU wins as national wins because ESPNU isn’t readily available like ESPN.
- Adrien’s double-double was his 12th of the season.
- Gavin Edwards played really well in only 8 minutes. He had a key layup and a blocked shot at the defensive end to help out the Huskies in the first half when they were down.
- UCONN as whole struggled from the floor. They were 20 of 56 (35.7%).
- The crowd was really loud during the game, especially the student section. At one point, it was so loud in there my ears started to hurt.
- How does a team win a game when they miss 18 free throws? The good thing was they made 19. But still, your not going to win that many games in the Big East when you are 19 of 37 from the charity stripe. Adrien was an atrocious 6 of 14 from the line.
- The Men’s ‘Huskies of Honor’ were honored at halftime. Coach Jim Calhoun was the first to be honored since he had to go into the locker room at half time and scold his young Huskies. He made a quick speech and said to the crowd, “we will play better in the second half.” If you would like to see the ‘Huskies of Honor’ Ceremony, click here.
- I am not so sure that Calhoun was pleased with Stanley Robinson’s play. It seemed like every time Robinson did something wrong, Calhoun would yank him and yell at him on the bench. A few of the times, you could hear him from where I was sitting.
- The funniest part of the game was when two of the Syracuse players fouled out. The UCONN student section has a little chant that they do when a player fouls out in which they basically yell “left” “right” when the player takes his steps back to the bench. They then yell “sit down” when he sits. Well the two players from Syracuse that fouled out had a little fun with them as they were walking back to the bench. Terrence Roberts first tried to trick the players by walking differently then not sitting down. Daryl Watkins was the second player to foul out but the foul out came at one of the media timeouts. As usual the students, being on top of their game, recognized he had fouled out and did their chanting as he walked back to the bench. You could see Watkins laughing in the huddle with two other Orange players about what he was going to do once they broke the huddle. The students started back up and Watkins tried to psych them out when he sat down by not sitting down. The players from Syracuse actually gave a clap of the hands to the students and the students obliged with one of their own to the Watkins for a being a sport about it. At the last game, a Rutgers player flipped the “bird” to the students when he fouled out and they did this to him.
- The win was Calhoun’s 500th at UCONN. He now has 748 wins in his Hall of Fame coaching career.
Another much needed win for the Huskies as they try to get into the Big East Tournament in March. With the win, the Huskies move to 15-8 (4-6 in the Big East). Next up for the Huskies is a trip to the Georgia Dome on Sunday, to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Game time is 1 PM and the game is being televised nationally on CBS.