Aaron Gray’s double-double, 22 points and 19 rebounds, led Pittsburgh to a 63-54 victory over the UCONN Huskies in a nationally televised game on espn2. Ronald Ramon had 17 points, 4 for 4 from 3 point land, to help the Panthers. No other Panther was in double figures. For the Huskies, they were once again led by Jeff Adrien, who had 13 points and 7 rebounds. Jerome Dyson chipped in with 11 points.
This game was a typical Big East battle. Low scoring, very aggressive play. To give you an idea of how low scoring the game was, at the first media timeout, the score was Pittsburgh 2 UCONN 0. UCONN couldn’t buy a bucket in the first half as they were 4 for 17 before going on a 5-0 run to get within 1 point. The score at the half was 24-22 Pittsburgh. They took the lead at the half on Ronald Ramon 3 point shot at the buzzer.
The second half was much of the same. Pittsburgh came out strong and was on fire from the floor. But UCONN withstood the run and stayed within 4 points for part of the second half. Another mini run by the Panthers put them up 9 and UCONN never got closer than 7 points the rest of the way.
Notes and Observations:
- The starters were Price, Dyson, Robinson, Thabeet, and Adrien.
- Hasheem Thabeet missed part of the first half after taking an inadvertent elbow to the head. The big fella had to be helped to the dressing room.
- Jerome Dyson had another poor shooting game. He was 5 for 16 from the floor.
- Pittsburgh forced UCONN into a half court game and AJ Price, Doug Wiggins, and Craig Austrie all struggled with it. UCONN seems to have trouble when they are forced to run their offense. They were best tonight when they were able to run.
- Aaron Gray rendered Hasheem Thabeet useless tonight. Thabeet is just not big enough to compete with the big men of the Big East right now.
- After a stellar performance on Saturday night, Stanley Robinson also struggled with his shot. He was 1 for 8 from the floor.
Free throws, free throws, free throws. UCONN cannot shoot them. I don’t know if this is a disease with both teams but we are just downright awful. UCONN was 10 for 23 (43.5%). They can’t expect to win close ball games when they miss 13 free throws. I really hope Coach Jim Calhoun finds a way to work on these a lot more in practice. This is the Big East. Most games come down to the free throws at the end of the game. If UCONN continues to shoot like this, it is going to be a long season.
With the loss, UCONN falls to 13-4 (2-3) in the Big East. Next up for the young UCONN Huskies is a game on Saturday afternoon against the Indiana Hoosiers. The game is at 3:45 at the Hartford Civic Center and will be televised nationally on CBS