HARTFORD, CT (November 25) -- Senior guard Tony Robertson (E. Providence, RI) came off the bench to score 21 points to lead the 12th ranked University of Connecticut mens basketball team to a hard-fought 67-55 win over George Washington before 14,863 at the Hartford Civic Center.
The win improves the Huskies record to 2-0, while the Colonials drop their season opener.
The first nine minutes of the game was played at a frenetic pace, with the Huskies shooting out to a 25-19 lead. However, the final 11 minutes and the second half were more ragged. UConn was able to take a 37-33 lead at intermission behind Robertsons 16 points. He hit four three-pointers and was five of seven from the field in the opening 20 minutes. UConn shot just 36% in the first half and committed 10 turnovers but harassed GWU into 40% shooting and out-rebounded the Colonials 29-19.
The second half was more of the same as the end of the first half. The Huskies forged ahead by as many as 15, at 53-38 with 10:46 to play but the Colonials inched with five at 54-49 with 5:38 to play. UConn scored the next five points, capped by a jumper by Taliek Brown (Queens, NY) to give the Huskies a 59-49 lead.
Sophomore guard Ben Gordon (Mt. Vernon, NY) scored 17 for UConn, while sophomore center Emeka Okafor (Houston, TX) again narrowly missed a triple-double with 13 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks. It was his second consecutive double-double this season, and his ninth of his career. Gordon led all players with five assists.
Chris Monroe led GWU with 15 points.
The Huskies return to action on Sunday, December 1 when they travel to Nashville, TN to face SEC foe Vanderbilt. Tip-off is set for 9:00 p.m. and the game will be televised locally by WTXX-TV 20.
Head Coach Jim Calhoun
It was nice to get a win tonight, but not being able to make foul shots, giving up 24 offensive rebounds, being outworked were discouraging things to me personally. Having to go with the three guards is a good tactic that we would like to be able to use at times, but it cant become what we are. If it does, then I think its going to be very difficult to rebound and do some of the things we want to do as the season progresses.
We made some adjustments at the halftime started to get the ball inside to Emeka and defensively got much better and held them to 22 points in the second half and did a relatively good job.
We did a magnificent job on Monroe and did what we were supposed to do with him. We took their two guards who scored 48 points against us last year and locked them up.
I wasnt as crazy going with the lineup we had to go with tonight, so the rest of the guys on the team are going to have to pick it up and get tougher.
I wasnt overly disappointed, but I wasnt really pleased. We are 2 and 0, Im pleased with that, but we have a lot of work ahead of us when we play a big, big Vanderbilt team coming up.
On George Washington
I think theyll be much, much better than they were last year. I dont know if theyll run into 3 as good defensive guards plus the guy in the middle. The guy in the middle changes games. They probably wont see anybody like him the rest of the year. He just took the game over
.Credit to Karls kids, they stayed and hung in there. I think hes much better than he was last year. Im sure hes disappointed.
On Hazeltons DNP
Just inappropriate behavior at practice. All forgotten. He was on the bench and hell be back practicing. I know we always put down team rules and then theres speculation about something outside. Its just something that he didnt practice, which I didnt appreciate, and I told him that he wouldnt be playing today. Its simple.
We just tried to draw the positives. We knew that if we made more free throws, and played better defense throughout that it probably would have been a 25-30 point game. So we know what we have to work on.
We werent running our offense as well as we were in practice. We were taking a lot of tough and contested shots.
They did a pretty good job of switching defenses on us
the defense they had, it wasnt anything that was overwhelming that caused those (scoring) droughts
I just think it was just us not executing on offense and taking poor shots.
I think we were kind of horrible tonight. Everybody knows that we should have beat them by more. I dont think everybody played with enough energy and we just need to bounce back from situations like this.
On why no energy? I think it might be because were young
and as a team everyone is not on the same page.
I think we just took ourselves out of it. We didnt play like we were playing one of the tougher teams.
On Coach Calhoun after the game
He pointed out the things we did tonight which werent that good we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds and we went on a drought for awhile. We were stuck on 52 for I dont know how long. So, he wasnt too happy about that and neither were we.
Why did the drought happen in the 2nd half
A couple of times we got the shots we were looking for and they didnt go in, but most of the time it was just we werent screening and getting guys open like we normally do. It was just poor execution of our offense in the half court. We werent fast-breaking, so we had to execute offense which we didnt do a good job of in the second half.
On his 1st half performance
did he half to takeover?
I dont know, thats just the way the game went. They were all open shots, and I was just able to knock them down.
On his role as the 6th man
It was alright tonight. I dont mind being the sixth man. If thats what we need me to do for us to be successful, then thats what Ill do.
Out to prove something coming off the bench
Definitely. Every player off the bench should feel like that, so thats the mentality you have to have to be successful coming off the bench
I just have to come in and be productive right away.
How do you explain 11:30 without a basket?
There is no explanation for that. That shouldnt happen to a team with the players we have. Its just poor execution of our offense. We werent running our stuff like we should and we just went on a drought because of it.
Was it GW or UConn causing the drought
They played good defense. But it was us. Our thing is not to worry about what any other team does. We just have to take care of what we do, because we know what we do is very effective. So, we just try and perfect what we do.
They were a great team. They played real hard. But, on the same note, we werent playing our game. We had a lot of one-on-ones. We werent boxing out. We werent rebounding. We werent running. We werent playing together. So it was a combination of them playing real well and us not playing our game made the game more difficult than it should have been.
We played very poorly in our own house. We have to fix our attitude. We have to get that killer mentality and put teams away early and keep it that way.
We were just stagnant. We werent playing our game.
We just kind of fell apart towards the middle of the 2nd half and managed to keep it together to pull out the win.
On Tony Robertson
Tony has accepted his role and he knows what he has to do
He kept us in it. He made some crucial threes, made some great defensive plays, and made some frees throws down the stretch to seal the win.
GEORGE WASHINGTON HEAD COACH KARL HOBBS QUOTES
I was very pleased with the way my team performed
I really thought we played hard
particularly in the second half we did a much better job on the backboard.. I thought we showed our youth, particularly in the second half in terms of getting the shots that we wanted to get. Overall I was pleased with our effort. We didnt have a bad effort tonight.
If Connecticut gets 67 points, which is what they got, then I think we slowed the pace down. Anytime you come into Connecticuts building and hold them to 35% shooting, and out-rebound them b y one, that is very difficult to do. I can almost guarantee you that there wont be too many teams that will come in here and do that.
I thought that one of the major differences in the game was that they shot 29 free throws and we took 13. I thought that was a difference to some degree.
On Okafors impact on their game: The kid had quite a few blocks
I thought he had something to do with that. I thought that to some degree we didnt execute our offense the way I wanted to. The fluidity of trying to get the shot we wanted to
we just didnt do that in the second half. He didnt change it (their game plan) at all
thats the way we play. We attacked him, we went after him. The biggest contribution he made to the game
to some degree defense
but more importantly, was the second half
they threw the ball inside, he just grabbed it, turned around and scored
and we just didnt have an answer for him.
I really felt like that for my young guys
there was no better way to start their college career off than to play at Connecticut. Theyre going to play against a packed house, against a very good basketball team, a very disciplined team, a very well coached team, and you know the history of their guards
we arent going to see anybody as good as those guards.
I was surprised at the way they were knocking down the 3pt shots. They are more of a break you down, get the ball in the paint
and we worked on containing penetration
and not allowing them to penetrate middle
and maybe they got a hold of my scouting report
because they just really made 3pt shots.