This was the perfect trap game for the UConn Huskies men’s basketball team. They were coming off a win over the then No. 1 Texas Longhorns while the Providence Friars were coming off a disappointing loss to the South Florida Bulls.
The goal for UConn was to not have a letdown and continue the momentum they built in Saturday’s win. Unfortunately for them that just didn’t happen on Wednesday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, RI as they fell to the Friars 81-66.
The No. 19 Huskies fall to 13-7 (3-4 Big East) while the Friars improve to 12-8 (4-4).
Kemba Walker and Gavin Edwards led the way for the Huskies with 17 points each. Walker also added eight rebounds and seven assists while posting no turnovers after having a career-high six in the win over Texas. Stanley Robinson added 14 points while Jerome Dyson had 12 points.
Jamine Patterson paced the Friars with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Sharaud Curry chipped in with 18 points and Bilal Dixon added a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds. Duke Mondy rounded out the Friars in double-digits with 10 points.
Things were looking good for the Huskies early on in the 1st half.
Dyson got them started with two 3-pointers as they took an early 6-2 lead. They then continued to build a lead that would grow to as high as 10 points at 29-19 that forced the Friars to take a 30 second timeout.
And that’s when the game changed. The Friars came out of the timeout all charged up as they went on a 12-2 run that forced George Blaney to take a timeout before the final media timeout of the half.
The Huskies scored the next four points but the Friars responded by scoring the final five points of the first half to take a 36-35 lead into the locker rooms.
UConn could never quite catch the Friars over the first part of the second half trailing by as much as seven points. They would work that lead down and would take a 56-55 lead on a Robinson layup with just over 10 minutes to go.
With 9:36 to go in the game, Robinson made a jumper to give the Huskies a three point lead at 58-55. From that point on it was all Friars as they went on a 20-3 run (that included a 14-0 run) to put the game away.
Edwards said it best after the game:
“We just took our foot off the gas. We thought that we had the game won already. Everybody was just resting on their laurels from the Texas game, and as a result, nobody really came out to play, and we got beat.”
Given what the Huskies had done on Saturday, everyone did expect them to win. But they clearly got outplayed by a team that wanted it more than they did. There’s been losses during the year that have hurt but this one hurts worse.
They needed this win as they’ve yet to win a road game in the Big East or anywhere else for that matter this season. As good as that Texas win looks on their NCAA Tournament resume, if they don’t start winning some road games in the Big East they could find themselves back in the NIT.
UConn returns to action on Saturday afternoon as the Marquette Golden Eagles come to the XL Center for a Big East matchup. Tip is scheduled for 12 p.m. and will be televised locally on My-TV9 and SNY.
Notes and musings:
UConn Huskies @ Providence Friars 1.27.10 box score
The starters were Kemba Walker, Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson, Ater Majok and Alex Oriakhi.
There was a familiar voice for Red Sox fans on the play-by-by. Red Sox broadcaster Don Orsillo called the game along Ron Perry for the Big East Network.
The Huskies fell to 19-5 all-time when Jim Calhoun either misses a game or leaves the bench (2-1 this season under substitute head coach George Blaney).
UConn is now 14-2 following a win against a ranked team since the start of the 2006-07 season.
UConn has lost four straight conference road games.
The Friars have won four of the last five matchups between the two teams.