Is there any big man in the country playing any better than Hasheem Thabeet right now.
Thabeet narrowly missed a triple double with a career-high 25 points, a career-high 20 rebounds and 9 blocked shots to lead the No. 1 UConn Huskies to a 62-54 win over a tough Seton Hall Pirates team at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
It’s the 13th straight win for the Huskies (24-1, 12-1 Big East) and matches their best start in school history from 1995-1996. Seton Hall, who had been hot as of late, falls to 14-10 (5-7 Big East).
Jeff Adrien picked up the 11th double-double and 44th of his career with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Kemba Walker came off the bench adding 8 points.
John Garcia led the Pirates with a double-double of his own with 22 points, 13 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. Jeremy Hazell had 14 points while Robert Mitchell chipped in with 8 points and 15 rebounds.
Slow going for the both teams early on as neither team could really get anything going on the offensive end. Then with the score tied 11-11, UConn went on a 13-2 run to open up an 11 point lead. Seton Hall stood strong though as they made an 8-2 run to cut the lead to 6 points. The Huskies closed out the half on an 7-2 run behind six points by Thabeet to take a 10 point lead 33-23 at the half.
Seton Hall came out fast in the second half going on an 8-3 run to cut the lead to 5 points at 36-31. Calhoun had to call timeout during the run to let voice his displeasure about his team’s play on the defensive end. The Huskies responded with a 6-0 forcing Seton Hall into a timeout.
The Huskies were never able to really put this game away but Seton Hall didn’t get closer than 8 points the rest of the way as the lead hovered around 10 points. The main reason for this was the poor shooting from the perimeter for the Huskies.
The Pirates had trouble scoring inside today as Thabeet was just a force to be reckoned with. Along with the 9 blocked shots, he unofficially altered about another 12-13 shots. While Stanley Robinson and Craig Austrie only had 8 points between them, they both did a great job of taking Hazell out of his comfort range.
ESPN’s Big Monday brings a big game to the XL Center as the No. 4 Pittsburgh Panthers come to town. Tip is scheduled for 7 PM. It should be another great Big East battle between the top dawgs and the Panthers.
Notes and musings:
The starters for the Huskies were A.J. Price, Craig Austrie, Stanley Robinson, Jeff Adrien and Hasheem Thabeet.
This was the 55oth win for Jim Calhoun at UConn and the 798th of his career.
UConn shot 38.6% (22-of-57) from the floor while Seton Hall shot 31.2% (24-of-77).
The Huskies had 12 assists on their 22 made baskets.
Poor free throw shooting by the Huskies today, otherwise the margin may have been bigger. They were 15-of-27 (55.6%).
UConn won the battle of the boards 55-43 but amazingly enough was outscored in the paint 38-34.
Seton Hall only turned the ball over 5 times while UConn had 13.