Coming into the 2013-14 season, the UConn Huskies were easy to break down on paper.
The Huskies were going to be led by strong guard play, mostly from veterans Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright, while contributions from the front-court were to be few and far between.
If UConn’s performance against Detroit is any indication, the Huskies have plenty of offensive firepower outside of their pint-sized point guards.
The Huskies, who won their 2K Sports Classic opener on Thursday by a score of 101-55, received offensive contributions from all over the floor, as a well-rounded performance paced the home side.
It seemed as if a different Husky would catch fire every few minutes, as the entire game felt more like a NBA Jam matchup instead of a Division I basketball contest. UConn finished the game in triple digits for the first time since the 2009 NCAA tournament, as the Huskies received double-digit performances from six different players.
The first half was dominated by sharpshooter Niels Giffey, who finished the opening stanza with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Giffey, who spent the summer with the German national team, has missed just three shots in the team’s opening three games. Here's a sampling of the Twitter reaction to the game:
Niels Giffey's shooting form is perfect. Best shooter in the NCAA?— Kyle Craig (@KyleSCraig) November 15, 2013
Does Niels Giffey miss from beyond the arc? 11-13 on the year. #UConn— Danny Lavin (@dannylavs) November 15, 2013
Shabazz Napier. Incredible so far. Niels Giffey. Incredible so far. Omar Calhoun. Incredible so far. DeAndre Daniels heating up. Oh boy.— Tim Fontenault (@Tim_Fontenault) November 15, 2013
Who is on fire more than Niels Giffey? Has 15 points in the first half for UConn tonight against Detroit. 3 3's. Huskies up 19.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) November 15, 2013
“When you compare this team to the team last year or the year before, we really wait and take the right shots,” said the German senior. “Shot selection is one of the main points we look for. Of course, we’re going to be a fast break team, but as soon as we get into the half-court, we have to make sure we take the shots that are open.”
Joining Giffey was sophomore guard Omar Calhoun, who continued the hot streak that began Monday against Yale. Calhoun finished the game with 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting, giving the Huskies yet another scoring threat.
“We’re definitely deep this year,” said the Brooklyn product. “In practice, everyone’s going out there and going hard. We’ve all got each other’s back. When we play against other teams, we all feel like it’s a relief. We can just play and have fun. That’s the fun part.”
However, let’s not skip out on the contributions of Napier and Boatright, both of whom tortured Detroit’s defense all night.
Napier was put on watch for his second triple-double in as many games, as the senior sensation was able to finish with a stat line of 10 points, eight assists and eight rebounds in just 22 minutes. Meanwhile, Boatright approached triple-double territory himself, as the Illinois native channeled his inner D-Rose with a 12-point, seven-assist and six-rebound performance.
“They’re just growing up and maturing,” said head coach Kevin Ollie after the game to describe the play of his backcourt. “They understand that if we win, it makes everybody look good…When you’re a great player, you make other people great. That’s what they’re starting to do. They’re taking pride in that.”
“I messed up Shabazz again,” added the second-year coach with a grin. “He was on his way to another triple-double, but I had to take him out of the game.”
With a balanced attack like this, the Huskies appear to be much more than a two-headed attack. Offense appears to be coming in waves this season in Storrs, as the Huskies look to have an attack worthy of a national title contender.
Can the Huskies put any stock into their thrashing of Detroit? Have your say with a comment or tweet @R_Tolmich with your view!
*All quotes obtained firsthand*