Drummond, Lamb lead No. 16 UConn past West Virginia 64-57
Published: Monday, January 9, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 9, 2012 23:01
With more than 11 minutes to play, it looked like the West Virginia men's basketball team was well on its way to upsetting its second-straight ranked team.
The Mountaineers had No. 16 Connecticut on the ropes, holding a 46-36 lead over the Huskies in Hartford, Conn.
But, after they turned it over four times and UConn went on a 15-2 run in the game's next six minutes, the Mountaineers found themselves down and went on to fall to the Huskies 64-57.
"It's frustrating because I really thought we could come in here and win. We just break down," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins during his postgame radio interview. "When they made the run we just didn't answer it. We didn't run any offense."
West Virginia controlled the game the majority of the first half, forcing Connecticut into nine first-half turnovers and went into the locker room with a 33-28 lead.
Senior forward Kevin Jones and freshman point guard Jabarie Hinds carried the Mountaineers during the first half, scoring nine points in a row during a 9-4 run that gave them a 25-20 lead with a little more than six minutes to play in the first half.
Connecticut shot the ball well Monday night, making 26 of its 47 attempts from the field (55.3 percent) but it struggled to get things going in the first 20 minutes due to turnover problems.
Things got better in the second half as the Huskies had just three turnovers and were able to finish the game with more assists than turnovers for the first time since it beat St. John's on Dec. 31, 2011.
Center Andre Drummond led the way for UConn. The talented freshman finished the game with his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 20 points to go with 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Jeremy Lamb scored a game-high 25 points.
The two combined to score 28 points in the second half, outscoring West Virginia's second-half output of 24 points. Lamb scored 17 in the final half and had seven during the Huskies' pivotal run to grab the lead.
"When you've got a player like Jeremy Lamb you ride him, and they did," Huggins said. "Then what happens is you overhelp and things like that happen with Drummond because you overhelp on Jeremy Lamb, and he had his way with whoever we put on him.
"They've probably got two of the top 10 picks in the (NBA) draft."
West Virginia senior guard Truck Bryant, who had been averaging close to 25 points per game during Big East Conference play, struggled from the field, shooting just 2-for-13 from the field and finishing with a season-low eight points.
It was the first time Bryant scored less than 10 points in a game since March 2, 2011 when he scored nine points against the Huskies.
"The reality of it is, when Truck goes 2-for-13, we're not going to win," Huggins said. "Probably, of those 13, six or seven of them were forced, and he can't force shots.
"I know he thinks he's got to score for us and that's all fine and good, but taking forced shots isn't scoring."
Jones finished the game with 22 points and five rebounds for the Mountaineers. It was the first time in four games that Jones finished with less than 10 rebounds.
Junior forward Deniz Kilicli was the only other Mountaineer in double figures, scoring 12 points to go with four rebounds. Freshman point guard Gary Browne led WVU with seven rebounds to go with five points and four assists.
Connecticut freshman point guard Ryan Boatright scored seven points, grabbed four rebounds and had four assists off the bench for the Huskies.