John F. Silver
The Huskies took out their frustration and anger on DePaul on Tuesday night.
UConn picked up its first Big East win by hammering DePaul 99-78 behind a career-high 26 points from DeAndre Daniels and 22 from Ryan Boatright at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs.
“We came out and played aggressively. We attacked their pressure early and often. I thought we passed the ball very, very well,” head coach Kevin Ollie said. ” Too many turnovers in the first half, but we corrected that in the second half. We played like a team. We’ve been concentrating on hitting first, getting rebounds. And I thought we did that throughout the whole game.
It was a rout from the start as the Huskies jumped on DePaul dominating the glass for the first time this season. The rebounding was a point of emphasis after getting dominated on the glass against Marquette and the Huskies fixed that in a big way. UConn crashed the offensive and defensive glass and at one point in the first half held a 20-2 rebounding edge. The Huskies, who came in as the worst rebounding team in the Big East, held a 49-29 edge on the glass. UConn is averaging a shade over 31 rebounds per game but corralled 30 in the first half.
I was really disappointed with the way we played tonight.,” DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. “We’ve been playing really confident, with a hard edge, on the road really all year long. I just didn’t feel like we had that tonight – evidence of that is the rebounding stat. Of their first 16 shots, UConn rebounded 10 of them..we kind of didn’t recover from that.”
Daniels led the Huskies with 26 points on 9 of 12 shooting and added eight rebounds.Daniels’ career-high is something the Huskies would like to see more of. The reserved Daniels was involved in a scuffle with roommate and teammate Boatright at practice recently and carried that aggression over.
Boatright and Napier are consistent scorers. Add Daniels to the mix and the Huskies become even more dangerous.
“It just gives us an extra dimension to have him score like he wanted to score,” Ollie said. “Not just out there playing, he wanted to score. Hopefully it’s not just a moment. Hopefully we can get this over a consistent period of time.”
Aggressiveness is what the Huskies want out of the mellow Daniels.
“I just wanted to be more aggressive, stop shooting so many threes and take it to the rack and get easy layups and dunks,” Daniels said. “Sometimes, I tend not to be aggressive and just try to get the ball to [Shabazz Napier] or [Ryan Boatright]. But I was aggressive tonight.”
Point guard Shabazz Napier added 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists as UConn shredded DePaul’s pressure defense and had 50 points in the paint.
The Huskies got a big effort inside as Tyler Olander had his best game in weeks with 10 points and five rebounds while Enosch Wolf had eight points and seven rebounds off the bench.
The Huskies are 11-3, 1-1 in the Big East and avoided their first 0-2 start in Big East play for the first time since the 1989-90 season.
The 99 points is a season high for the Huskies and came on 49.3 percent shooting.
Brandon Young had 35 points in defeat for DePaul (10-6, 1-2)