On Thursday night, the UConn Huskies women's basketball team wasn't sure if Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was going to be able to play due to a thigh contusion. She did and they needed all of her 25 points.
24 hours later, the UConn men's basketball team found themselves in the same predicament with DeAndre Daniels who was suffering from back spasms. He played and if it weren't for his career night, the Huskies might have found themselves on the short end of the stick.
Behind Daniels career-high 23 points, UConn went on to beat the Harvard Crimson 57-49 in front of 9,113 at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, CT.
The Huskies improve to 7-2. The Crimson fall to 4-4.
Even with the back spasms, Daniels was able to play 33 minutes. He scored his career-high 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting, including 1-for-3 from beyond the arc. He went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.
Ryan Boatright was the only other Husky in double figures with 16 points. Shabazz Napier had a nice all-around game with six points, seven rebounds (game-high), nine assists (game-high) and four steals (game-high).
Wesley Saunders led the Crimson with 14 points and four assists. Steve Mondou-Missi chipped in with 10 points. Laurent Rivard led Harvard with six rebounds to go along with his five points.
This was another game where UConn played down to the level of their competition. The way it's been this year is the better the opponent, the better the Huskies play.
It was nice to Daniels fight through adversity and help the Huskies. Without his hot shooting, this game could have gone either way.
This was the Daniels that former head coach Jim Calhoun recruited to Storrs. One who could dominate the action at any given time. If he can continue to do this and the Huskies continue to get the great guard play from Boatright and Napier, they could surprise some teams still.
They still need the inside game but with Daniels being able to play inside and outside, this will give the opposing teams something else to focus on besides UConn's guards.
The Huskies get a break now as they prepare for their final exams.They'll next hit the court on Monday, December 17th when they host the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks at the XL Center in Hartford, CT. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Here are the postgame quotes from UConn head coach Kevin Ollie.
Here are UConn's postgame notes.
photo credit: brad horrigan – hartford courant (no. 5 in gallery)