Hartford, CT (SportsNetwork.com) - The 18th-ranked Connecticut Huskies will
bring in the Yale Bulldogs for a in-state matchup at the XL Center on Monday.
Yale battled Central Connecticut State on Saturday to kick off the 2013-14
campaign. The Bulldogs came away victorious in the contest as they rolled up a
93-77 victory. Justin Sears was the star of the game as he posted a double-
double to power the Bulldogs to victory. The Bulldogs played well as a team
overall, and shot 54.4 percent from the floor, while knocking down eight
shots from beyond the arc and 23 from the free-throw line. Yale continues on
the road, though it will take a trip out of the state of Connecticut, for its
next contest against Rutgers.
For UConn its season opener also ended in victory, although in a much less
comfortable fashion. The Huskies faced Maryland at the Barclays Center in
Brooklyn and held on for a 78-77 victory. Shabazz Napier scored 18 points in
the win, continuing his reign as the top scorer for the Huskies. What was
more disturbing was the effort the Huskies got from Ryan Boatright and
DeAndre Daniels, who each seemed to be trying to shake off the rust of the
offseason. Rust is not all UConn will be shaking off this season as the
Huskies are once again eligible for the postseason after serving a one-year
ban. That is great news for a team coming off a 20-10 campaign. UConn will
play its next two games in historic Gampel Pavilion against Detroit and Boston
Although these teams share residency in the same state they have not had a
very even all-time series. UConn has won 43 of 64 all-time meetings, including
each of the last 12.
Yale was the second-best scoring team in the Ivy League last year (68.5 ppg)
and looked as effective on the offensive end as ever against Central
Connecticut State. To pull the upset on Monday the Bulldogs will need to
continue at that pace, which will require another big game from Sears. The 6-
foot-8 forward had 26 points and 13 rebounds in the season opener and was also
a force on defense as he blocked four shots. Last year Sears had just a single
double-double and only one game with at least 20 points. Sears wasn't the only
scoring threat for the Bulldogs. Armani Cotton (17 points) and Javier Duren
(16 points) each produced well out of the backcourt. Having the offense rely
on just a handful of scorers is not the strategy that the Bulldogs took a
year ago, when no player scored more than 11 points per game.
Napier was as productive as ever for the Huskies in the season opener. The
senior guard not only led the team in scoring but he also dished out seven
assists and pulled in seven rebounds, all team-highs. If the Huskies want to
live up to their national billing they need other players to step up.
Boatright was another effective scorer out of the backcourt for the Huskies
last year but he did not have a strong game against Maryland, with just nine
points on 4-of-12 shooting, although he did have six assists. Daniels, thought
to be a candidate to really improve the Huskies up front, did no such thing
against Maryland as he had just eight points and a pair of rebounds in 32
minutes of work. Getting more from those two will be critical going forward.
UConn did get some flashes of strong play from Omar Calhoun (10 points) and
Niels Giffey (13 points) in the win.
The Sports Network