Thursday, January 15, 2009

You're a Native New Yorker

The key stretch for UConn tonight was a 16-5 run midway through the second half, when the Huskies turned a 39-36 lead into a 55-41 advantage. Jeff Adrien and Kemba Walker combined for all the Huskies' scoring during that stretch.

An Adrien tip-in of a Jerome Dyson miss started it with 14:53 left, then Adrien grabbed a rebound of another Dyson miss for a stickback. After Adrien hit one of two free throws, the Huskies got on a 3-on-1 break, with Walker in control. Walker faked a pass, then took off just about the free throw line and soared in for a finger roll, putting a charge in the crowd of 7,545, many of them UConn fans.

Yesterday at practice, Walker was asked why he hadn't dunked yet this season. He explained that if he missed a dunk, Jim Calhoun would immediately yank him from the game. But, he added that he would have a dunk at some point this season.

When asked if that was the play he could have ended with his first dunk, he said: "I wasn't really thinking about it, I was thinking about just scoring. After the play, I thought about dunking it, and I thought about y'all, too, what you asked me (yesterday)."

It kept coming. First, Walker hit a backdoor layup off a nice pass from Adrien. Then, with 9:31 left, Walker banked in a 3-pointer, then gave the Michael Jordan shrug, as if even he couldn't explain how hot he was.

"It was one of those nights for me," he said. "It was a shot I thought was missing, but I got lucky and it went in."

Walker returned the favor to Adrien, hitting him for a 15-footer. Adrien capped the run with a pair of freebies with 8:16 left.

"We were looking for each other," said Adrien. "He found me a lot more, and I found him a lot. It was fun, it was very fun."

Added Walker: "(Adrien) was the aggressor out there. He played hard, got all the loose balls for us. Jeff was just Jeff today, and I tried to bring that extra intensity out there."

After the game, Calhoun noted that Hasheem Thabeet was a difference-maker, with 10 points, eight rebounds, five blocks "and he probably bothered 15 (shots). That's all we needed him to do." A.J. Price also atoned for an awful first half (two points, four turnovers) with a pair of big 3-pointers late in the game.

But this game very much belonged to Kemba Walker (21 points, four assists, five boards) and Jeff Adrien (17 points, 11 boards), particularly during that 8 1/2-minute stretch in the latter half.

***After the game, Calhoun was asked who Walker reminded him of, and he said Khalid El-Amin, particularly because of the joy he plays the game with. Then, Calhoun revealed some disturbing news: a few days after Christmas, El-Amin's home in suburban Minneapolis was damaged when someone threw three Molotov cocktails through the windows.

No one was hurt in the incident, Calhoun reported, even though El-Amin's father, Charles, was in the house at the time. Some of El-Amin's memorabilia was damaged by fire, however. Calhoun, who added that the home was broken into the next day and three televisions were stolen, said he spoke with El-Amin Thursday morning. El-Amin is playing professionally in the Ukraine, but he's heading home to Minneapolis in a few days to help out his family.

Calhoun said that El-Amin's family helped start up a Muslim sect in that area, though it's not known whether or not the incident was a hate crime.

***Ex-Husky great Cliff Robinson spoke with the team after the game.

***Remember that song, "Native New Yorker"? One of the only good disco songs of the late-70's, in my opinion. Can anyone name who sang it?

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Odessey?

5:46 PM 
Blogger David Borges said...

Correct ... guilty pleasure of mine.

7:00 PM 

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