Huskies put the moves on the Bulldogs
There was no turning back for the University of Connecticut Huskies after jumping out to a double digit lead in the opening minutes of their debut in the Battle 4 Atlantis basketball tournament at the Atlantis Resort.
Leading by some 11 points heading into the half, the Huskies, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) National Champions, used their height to net a 73-63 win over the North Carolina Asheville Bulldogs. Even though last night’s game was the first for both squads in the four-day tournament, the Huskies felt right at home playing in the Imperial Ballroom.
The team got things started, after turning the ball over and snatching a rebound, with a three-pointer by DeAndre Daniels. The Bulldogs, who had missed a three of their own, headed down court and missed a lay-up. Daniels grabbed the rebound, dishing it off to Jeremy Lamb, who sunk a long three.
The first point on the board for the Bulldogs came from the free throw line. Forward Jeremy Atkinson netted one of the two shots.
The Huskies would respond with a monstrous dunk by Andre Drummond. The dunk was followed by a lay-up, which gave the Huskies a nine-point lead.
After talking things over in a 30-second timeout, the Bulldogs returned and scored two. The lay-up by Atkinson didn’t sit well with the Huskies though. The team went on and scored six unanswered points before trading baskets with the Bulldogs. Matt Dickey, the guard for the Bulldogs, had the hot hands for the team. He scored four consecutive points in an effort to close the 11-point lead that the Huskies were holding on to.
But their opponents were to much to handle. Daniels alongside Drummond and Lamb became the go-to men for the Huskies. When Lamb, the Huskies’ shooting guard, wasn’t cleaning up the boards, he was knocking down the jumpers. Lamb would close the first half with nine points, five rebounds, one block and a steal.
The give-and-go game played by the Huskies helped to spread the court and open the lane. Some 16 points were scored in the paint, in the first half, by the national champs. Six points were netted off fast breaks and ten from offensive turnovers. The Huskies’ bench outscored the Bulldogs by eight and also won the battle on the second chance shots. Drummond’s presence in the middle, clogging up the lane, made it nearly impossible for the Bulldogs, who went to the outside shot.
The team started to ‘rain three-pointers’ in the minutes of the second half. J.P. Primm got the long distance attack started. His successful shot pulled the team within eight points. The Huskies would add two more to the scoreboard, but that double-digit lead was short-lived. Chris Stephenson drilled another three, giving the Bulldogs new life.
Lamb came back with a three-pointer, sparking the team’s offensive run. After Shabazz Napier put the moves on his defender, and sprinted down the baseline to sink a reverse lay-up, the seven-point deficit that the Bulldogs were facing was back at 16.
And even though the Huskies would turn the ball over more than ten times in the half, the Bulldogs still were not able to convert on all the opportunities given.
Lamb and Shabazz Napier were the top scorers for the Huskies, both scoring 23 points in the win. Lamb would add six points, two assists, one block and a steal to his total, while Napier dished the ball out seven times, had two rebounds and three steals.
Scoring 18 points for the Bulldogs was Dickey. Atkinson had 14 points.