Florida St.-UConn Preview
As the only ranked teams in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in
the Bahamas, Connecticut and Florida State probably expected to
meet in the championship game.
Instead, both teams were stunned in the semifinals and the
fourth-ranked Huskies and No. 22 Seminoles will play Saturday for
Connecticut (5-1) saw its 16-game win streak end with Friday’s
68-63 loss to Central Florida, blowing a 17-point lead in the
“I can’t be more disappointed in how we played,” coach Jim
Calhoun said. “We just stopped playing. We couldn’t even get the
ball inbounded near the end. Nobody stepped up and it was a
complete disaster for us.”
Florida State (5-1), meanwhile, missed its first 15 shots in
Friday’s 46-41 loss to Harvard. The Seminoles actually turned in
their best defensive effort of the season, limiting the Crimson to
27.3 percent shooting, but were undone by their own 36.2 percent
shooting and 16 turnovers.
“We got beat by a team today that was much hungrier than we
were,” coach Leonard Hamilton said. “They played a much more
aggressive game, they showed an awful lot of toughness, and they
executed their system a lot better than we executed our
The defending national champion Huskies were shocked as their
third-longest win streak in school history ended. Sophomore point
guard Shabazz Napier, who has big shoes to fill in replacing Kemba
Walker in the lineup, had a career-high seven turnovers, four
points, five assists and four fouls in 31 minutes.
Napier was a major culprit during a 17-2 run by the Knights that
cut their deficit to two points, as UConn began to unravel.
“That wasn’t a run, it was an avalanche,” Calhoun said.
Huskies leading scorer Jeremy Lamb had 15 points but missed 11
of 16 shots. UConn’s 13 turnovers led to 22 points for Central
“I feel like I let the team down,” Lamb said. “I turned the ball
over in key moments. We’ve lost games before but this hurts. We
just need to come out with energy tomorrow and be ready to
It didn’t appear that Florida State was ready to play Friday
after its dismal start. The halftime score of 14-14 matched the
lowest point total for a half in a Division I game since 1986.
Shooting guard Michael Snaer was the lone player to reach double
figures for either team with 10 points.
How these teams match up in the frontcourt could be critical to
deciding this contest. Florida State has the edge in experience in
23-year-old senior center Xavier Gibson and 26-year-old forward
The Huskies have used 21-year-old center Alex Oriakhi off the
bench in this tournament, with 18-year-old freshman Andre Drummond
moving into the lineup. Both played well Friday, with Oriakhi
finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Drummond getting 13
points, nine boards and four blocks.
Florida State leads the series 4-2, and these teams have not met
since the Seminoles won 67-60 in overtime in the preseason NIT
semifinals Nov. 26, 1997.