Sunday, December 02, 2007

Ray Sheds Light on Huskies' 'D'

Here's a copy of the notebook from Saturday's UConn-Gonzaga game, which only made print editions of Sunday's Register:

By David Borges
Register staff
BOSTON — Sometimes, a team needs to hear from another voice to really drive a point home. Following Saturday’s disappointing loss to Gonzaga at TD Banknorth Garden, the Huskies got an earful from one of their great alumni.

Ray Allen, who sat courtside during the game alongside his Boston Celtics teammate Brian Scalabrine, addressed the Huskies in their postgame locker room. Allen’s main point, after watching his former team give up 85 points to a short-handed, leg-weary Gonzaga team: the Huskies need to improve a great deal on the defensive end of the floor.

“He gave us what we needed to hear, really,” UConn junior point guard A.J. Price said. “As a team, we need to come together as a unit. He said the same thing I’m saying right now — it’s our defense. Our defense is what let us down toward the end of the game.”

Added junior forward Jeff Adrien: “He spoke the truth. He saw everything that Coach saw, and some things I saw on the court. We’ve just got to do it as one, basically.”

Calhoun labeled the effort as “maybe one of the worst displays of defense, at times, that I’ve seen us play.” Not that the Huskies are tuning out their coach, but to hear similar criticism from a player like Allen — “who right now is probably on the best team in the NBA,” according to Price — resonates further.

“For him to explain how their team works defensively, and how he sees some of the similarities we have on defense — we could be very good,” Price said. “Once we get those little things corrected, everything will work out in our favor.”

Let’s Get Technical

Calhoun picked up a technical foul less than 2½ minutes into the second half after Stanley Robinson was whistled for his third foul. Calhoun pounded the scorer’s table to draw the ‘T’, and the Zags made four straight free throws to snap a tie at 48.

According to Calhoun, “Once the ‘T’ was assessed, the official said, ‘I hope you say something so I can throw you (out).’ I said, ‘If you keep saying that, I’m going to find you, because it’s very unprofessional.’ From that point, it became even, and officiating had nothing to do with the game.”

Bouldin Emboldened

The Huskies tried hard to recruit Gonzaga sophomore forward Matt Bouldin out of ThunderRidge High in Colorado a few years ago. Instead, he opted for Gonzaga, and UConn wound up with Stanley Robinson.

Bouldin came back to haunt the Huskies, scoring 19 points and getting five rebounds. During one stretch just past the midway point of the second half, Bouldin (a 6-foot-5 sophomore guard) scored nine straight Gonzaga points as the Zags turned a 67-63 deficit into a 72-69 lead.

Odds and Ends

‰Adrien, a Brookline, Mass., native, didn’t get his name announced during pregame introductions. After the P.A. man introduced “No. 5, Hasheem Thabeet” (Thabeet actually wears No. 34), he introduced Gonzaga’s fifth and final starter, but not Adrien, who still ran out on the floor and got high-fives from his teammates. Just before the opening tap, however, Adrien’s name was finally announced.

‰The Huskies are now 2-1 against Gonzaga. All three games have been played on neutral courts. UConn beat the Zags in the championship game of the 2005 Maui Invitational and in the 1999 NCAA West Regional championship game at America West Arena in Phoenix.

David Borges may be reached at dborges@nhregister.com.


And, because it still seems difficult to find the Register's new website on the Web, here's the link to the game story:

http://www.nhregister.com/WebApp/appmanager/JRC/BigDaily?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pg_article&r21.pgpath=%2FNHR%2FSports%2FUConn+Men&r21.content=%2FNHR%2FSports%2FUConn+Men%2FContentTab_Feature_1197278

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