Skip to content

No. 18 UConn knocks off Maryland 78-77 at the Barclays Center

Nov 8, 2013, 9:09 PM EDT

UConn Maryland Basketball AP

For the second time in two seasons, Maryland saw their bid for an upset at the Barclays Center on the season’s opening night fall just short.

And for the second time in two seasons, it was the surprising play of a relative unknown that made the difference. Last season, Kentucky pulled out a 72-69 win thanks to the play of back up point guard Jarrod Polson down the stretch. On Friday night, UConn hung on to a 78-77 win thanks to big plays from Niels Giffey (13 first half points), Tyler Olander (a huge three with just under two minutes left) and Amida Brimah (the game-winning rebounder).

We just about got what we expected from Maryland. That’s a good basketball team, but they’re going to have some issues until they figure out their point guard situation. Dez Wells is a talent, but he’s stifled when he’s asked to run the point. That’s not his game. Where he thrives is in transition and attacking the basket, and when Maryland made their comeback late in the second half — they almost erased a 67-50 deficit — it was Wells that sparked the run. He finished with 13 points, seven boards and six assists but committed six turnovers.

So what’s the answer for the Terps? Well, they need freshman Roddy Peters to grow into that point guard role quickly. The youngster had a couple of flashy plays in his first game, but he was a bit inconsistent.

UConn looked like they might actually be able to compete with Louisville and Memphis for the AAC title for about the first 30 minutes on Friday. Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright were as good as we expected them to be, but more notably was the play of Giffey. The 6-foot-7 wing spent his summer playing with the German national team, and it looks like he’s picked up some confidence. Giffey had 13 first half points, hitting three threes in the process.

We know that the Huskies have talented guards. That’s not a surprise. What was surprising was that UConn actually got some production in the middle. They weren’t dominant on the glass by any means, but guys like Olander and Philip Nolan came up with some timely offensive rebounds and did a good enough job on the defensive glass to slow down Maryland’s big men.

But it was Amida Brimah that was the revelation. A seven-foot freshman from Ghana, Brimah wasn’t expected to do much this year, but he came in and blocked three shots, threw down a dunk in transition and, most importantly, grabbed a rebound after Dez Wells missed a jumper in the final seconds.

We also saw why having a guard-heavy offense will be an issue for the Huskies. Many of their late-game possessions resulted in draining the shot clock and hoping that Boatright or Napier would be able to create a bucket going one-on-one.

Napier, Boatright, Giffey, Omar Calhoun, and Lasan Kromah are good enough that the Huskies will be able to compete with just about anyone in the country.

The key is in the middle, and what UConn got from their bigs tonight can only be called promising.

Latest Posts
  1. Kentucky’s John Calipari believes college basketball’s ‘gotten way too rough’

    May 27, 2015, 9:05 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    The shot clock won’t have as much of an impact on offenses as lessening the physicality of the game.

  2. Memphis commit reclassifying to 2015, will enroll next month

    May 27, 2015, 7:31 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    The 6-foot-11 center was originally expected to attend prep school before joining Memphis in 2016.

  3. St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin throws out first pitch at Yankees game (VIDEO)

    May 27, 2015, 5:38 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    The 6-foot-6 southpaw showed off his arm, and was accurate in doing so.

  4. Bill Self wins Hall of Fame’s humanitarian award

    May 27, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    150527_billSelf Getty Images

    Self and his wife created the Assists Foundation.

  5. Auburn center Trayvon Reed released from jail

    May 27, 2015, 11:09 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Reed broke a cop’s finger while resisting a shoplifting arrest.

  6. Nebraska and Tim Miles have agreed on a contract extension

    May 27, 2015, 10:28 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Miles is 47-49 in three years with Nebraska.

  7. UAA mixtape of DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2017

    May 26, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    (Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

    DeAndre Ayton finally got a chance to play this spring and delivered in a big way.

  8. Top-150 Class of 2016 point guard is focused on seven schools

    May 26, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

    walker

    Point guard CJ Walker is focused on seven schools during the recruiting process.

  9. Report: Class of 2016 four-star wing considering college among playing options for next season

    May 26, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    adidas adidas

    Four-star guard Maverick Rowan has a choice to make for his basketball future in the immediate future.

  10. Minnesota lands transfer wing from the SEC

    May 26, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT

    FAYETTEVILLE, AR - FEBRUARY 24:  Davonte Fitzgerald #15 of the Texas A&M Aggies goes to the basket and is guarded by Anthlon Bell #5 of the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on February 24, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Minnesota closed out its 2015 recruiting efforts with its second incoming transfer of the offseason.

  11. Five observations from EYBL Minneapolis

    May 26, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT

    (Jon Lopez/Nike) (Jon Lopez/Nike)

    The spring grassroots season is over and another spring EYBL season is complete.

  12. The Atlantic 10 announces their conference play pairings

    May 26, 2015, 3:21 PM EDT

    Atlantic 10 logo A-10 A 10

    The schedule isn’t out yet, but each team now knows who they will play and where they will play them.

  13. Norfolk State to lose talented center to transfer

    May 26, 2015, 2:01 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    RaShid Gaston averaged 15.5 points and 9.6 boards.

  14. Report: USC lands Louisville transfer, former top 50 recruit

    May 26, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Shaqquan Aaron could never crack Rick Pitino’s rotation.

  15. There’s only one way the NCAA gets UNC investigation wrong: a 2016 postseason ban

    May 26, 2015, 12:42 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The only people that would punish are the people that had nothing to do with the violations in the first place.

  16. Chris Collins has signed a contract extension with Northwestern

    May 26, 2015, 10:54 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Collins has Northwestern trending in the right direction.