Just Another Night
Dyson will have an MRI and X-Rays this afternoon, but according to a UConn spokesman, there is no structural damage to the knee at this point and no concern that it is an ACL or MCL issue. It appears it's a severe bruise, and it's possible Dyson may have hyperextended the knee. He was apparently on crutches in the locker room afterwards. We'll know more tomorrow.
***For the other question surely on many peoples' minds: What exactly went on between Jim Calhoun and Syracuse's Paul Harris this evening? Well, we're not 100-percent sure.
Just over three minutes into the second half, after Harris had split two defenders to throw down a dunk in transition and tie the score at 35, the player and coach had words. Referee Jim Burr stepped in, and after a few moments, Calhoun slapped five with Harris and all seemed to be forgiven.
"I've known (Harris) probably since he was a freshman in high school," Calhoun said afterwards. "His 'guy' was Khalid El-Amin's 'guy' in Buffalo. He and I were joking during the game, he said something to me, I said something to him back and then I was kidding with him and we (slapped each other) five, then Jimmy Burr came into the situation. But I have great respect for him, he's a terrific competitor."
After the game, Calhoun and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim engaged in a rather long handshake, during which Calhoun apparently explained the situation.
"He said (Harris) said, 'I'm getting going,' or something," Boeheim offered. "To me, it was nothing. I don't think it was anything of importance."
***Defense was once again the name of the game for UConn. After holding the Orange to 32 percent (19-for-60) shooting, UConn hasn't allowed an opponent to shoot better than 38 percent or score more than 61 points in its last six games.
It all starts with Hasheem Thabeet, who blocked seven shots, altered countless more, and tore down 16 rebounds while adding eight points.
"Thabeet is a tremendous defensive player," said Boeheim. "I've said many times, I think he's as good, or better, than anyone who's ever been in the league. Our game is to try to get to the basket. (Thabeet) takes that away from you"
***The Huskies used a 12-0 run midway through the second half to turn what had been a tight game into a fairly routine victory. Befitting of its season-long balanced attack, UConn got contributions from everyone on the floor during the run.
A.J. Price began it with a trio of free throws and capped it with an off-balance, baseline jumper. Kemba Walker stripped Jonny Flynn of the ball and cruised in for a breakaway layup.
"It kind of gave us confidence on the defensive end, so that was definitely a big play," Walker said.
Craig Austrie hit a 3-pointer off an inside-out pass from Thabeet and Jeff Adrien canned a 15-footer – all sandwiched around a pair of traveling calls against Syracuse's Eric Devendorf.
"This team is very balanced," said Adrien. "We have a different leading scorer every game … that's the great thing about us. We all click great with each other on different nights, and guys are going to give different things every night."
***Thabeet had the most impressive sequence of the game late in the first half. With 4:23 left in the half, Thabeet blocked a sure dunk by Rick Jackson. Syracuse picked up the loose ball and had a 3-on-1 advantage, but Thabeet still managed to get a piece of Devendorf's shot.
On the other end of the floor, Thabeet banked in a jump hook that gave the Huskies a 26-24 lead. They'd never trail again.
***During the pregame layup line, Adrien started pumping up the student section, big-time.
"It's kind of a tradition, though I haven't done it in a while," Adrien explained. "It's something Hilton Armstrong told me to do, to get the crowd going by asking them 'What day is it?' three times: 'What day is it?' 'Game day!' 'What day is it?' 'Game day!' 'What day is it?' 'Game day!' I've seen students around campus saying, 'When are you going to bring it back.' I brought it back today."
During pregame shootaround, Adrien was also serenaded with a "Happy Birthday" chorus by the student section. Adrien turned 23 the day before.
"Better late than never," he said.
Again, take that for what it's worth.