John F. Silver
The first game after exams for a major college basketball program is usually a lightweight. University of Maryland Eastern Shore is lighter than most.
Ryan Boatright scored 21 points, Omar Calhoun added 22 and the Huskies went 10 of 19 from 3-point range shooting 66 percent from the floor in an 84-50 rout of UMES at the XL Center.
The night began with a moment of silence for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting and a touching ceremony where candles for each of the victims were brought out onto the floor for the national anthem.
The Huskies responded with Boatright, with eye black with the initials SH on his right cheek, showcasing the wealth of his talent.
Boatright scored from all angles and from every position on the floor. The sophomore guard showcased a feathery pull-up jumper, long range 3-point shooting and his dunk off a steal with 11:22 completed a 26-6 run to open the second half as UConn put the game away taking a 65-33 lead.
It was all academic from there. The Huskies moved to 8-2 on the season and will play at Fordham on Friday night before it heads into the Christmas Break.
The Huskies started a bit slow against UMES (0-10) but quickly got the entire offensive flow working. Boatright was hitting jumpers in the flow of the offense while Calhoun showcased a terrific midrange game with several jumpers to go with his long distance shooting and layups.
It was a breakout game for Calhoun, who had five points on 1 of 11 shooting combined in the two previous games against NC State and Harvard.
That wasn’t the case on Monday as he was aggressive but patient in the offense. A natural scorer, he didn’t force looks but rather let the opening come to him.
The offense was helped by another solid floor game from Shabazz Napier who finished with 11 points (4 of 4 shooting) and eight assists. Napier was coming off a nine assists and seven rebound performance against Harvard and didn’t look for his shot against UMES.
DeAndre Daniels added 13 points for the Huskies.
The Huskies’ offense was as smooth and efficient as it has been all season. That rout allowed for some valuable playing time down the roster as Phil Nolan and Leon Tolksdorf got some extended action. Tolksdorf hit his first career 3-pointer.
It was that kind of day for the Huskies, where everything went right on offense.
The Huskies have had their struggles and tough games this season despite the 8-2 record. On Monday, it was the first comfortable win of the year.
That, more than anything should get the Huskies back in the swing of things.