Wednesday, January 27, 2010

UCONN Falls In Route Six Rivalry Renewal

The UConn Huskies were playing with house money. So we thought...

After thrashing St.John's to the tune of a 16-point runaway win during their first game without Hall of Fame game general Jim Calhoun (who was advised by his doctor to take a medical leave of absence), the Huskies scored their first signature win of the season.

The Huskies pulled off a titanic upset of Texas at Gampel Pavilion, riding a 32-point eruption from scoring cyborg Jerome Dyson, he of the springy bounce and silky-smooth set shot.

Another key to the Huskies' lone statement game of the season was the improved interior work of 6-foot-11 work-in-progress second-year freshman Ater Majok.

The 23-year-old Sudan refugee, who took a dip into the cold NBA waters over the summer (before opting to return to school), finally showed a pulse while outdueling Texas' hulking behemoth, Dexter Pittman.

Majok, pegged as a reputable five-tool talent who bleeds NBA potential, seemed like he had turned a corner.

He swatted four shots and changed, manipulated, and altered the trajectory of countless others against the nation's top team last week.

So the Huskies were playing with house money, sifting through $100 bills and doling the dough out amongst each other. So, heading into enemy territory Wednesday night, they might as well have fun, right?

With the fiery and always fervent Calhoun's absence allowing the Huskies to play looser and without the fear of getting chewed out following a turnover or a boneheaded play, UConn renewed the Route 6 Rivalry as the favorable choice. Let's not forget, Providence suffered a brutal 30-point washout to rebuilding Marquette back on Jan.17.

Well, Majok's game re-emerged on the milk carton. He submitted 0 points and a meager two rebounds in 19 minutes of run.

Dyson, the fast break facilitator, scored just 12 points on 3-for-14 shooting as Providence rolled to an 81-66 resume win at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

Jamine "Greedy" Peterson, a product of Boys And Girls HS in Brooklyn, submitted a game-high 24 points while ripping down 14 rebounds, his second 20 and 10 performance in as many games.

UConn, which has a history of selling the store at the Dunkin' Donuts Center, was dominated on the glass. Providence clearly claimed ownership of the backboards, outboarding UConn by a 46-35 margin.

Peterson and Bilal Dixon were the catalysts of the glasswork. Combined, the tandem tore down 26 rebounds.

The two bigs pulled down more boards than the quartet Alex Oriahki (team-high eight boards), Gavin Edwards, Stanley Robinson, and Majok combined.

UConn has been unpredictable this season.

Much was said about the feast-or-famine, paltry-or-plenty antics of top scorers and considerable NBA prospects Stanley Robinson and Jerome Dyson, but their lack of depth and weak bench has also been a cause for concern.

Right now, the UConn coaching staff is making Tom Moore--who followed the long green to Quinnipiac--look like a genius.

Their recruiting has tailed off this season, with the aforementioned Oriakhi the only player making an immediate impact.Majok is still learning how to walk, Jamal Coombs-McDaniel is still not ready, Darius Smith is tiny and ineffective, and Jamaal Trice has been non-existent.

Transfer waivers, fellas?