Coppin St.-UConn Preview
While Connecticut finds itself in the midst of the longest active winning streak in the country, coach Jim Calhoun doesn't believe his team is playing up to par.
Calhoun looks for his fourth-ranked Huskies to pick up the pace as they try for a 15th consecutive victory Sunday against Coppin State.
The defending national champions have outscored opponents by an average 15.0 points while opening 3-0 for the 11th consecutive season. Calhoun, though, hasn't been pleased.
"I just haven't seen the enthusiasm with this particular group, particularly when there are eight kids back from a team that had the ultimate experience of success last year," Calhoun said.
The Huskies are committing 17.0 turnovers per game - 5.6 more than they averaged in 2010-11. Their 65.9 free-throw percentage also pales in comparison to last season's mark of 76.3.
After UConn took a disappointing five-point lead into halftime Thursday against Maine, Calhoun seemed to make an example out of leading scorer Jeremy Lamb, who was removed five seconds into the second half after walking the ball across half court.
The Huskies responded with a 23-2 run and went on to defeat the Black Bears 80-60.
"It woke us up. So, I guess it was a good wakeup call," said Lamb, averaging 22.0 points. "That is something we can build on, but we've got to work. We need to focus.
"We really haven't been having fun. We haven't been playing good, that's true. We just have to work harder."
Lamb, who scored 16 points Thursday, was one of five players to reach double figures. Alex Oriakhi also scored 16 while freshman DeAndre Daniels added 15 and seven rebounds in his first start.
Freshman center Andre Drummond had 11 points and a team-high 14 rebounds - 11 offensive - along with four blocks off the bench, earning high praise from Calhoun.
"I thought Andre really started to show, just physically, some of the things that he can do," Calhoun said. " ... There are very few guys who can do what he can do. I don't care who he's playing."
UConn has won 55 of 56 non-conference home games - including 36 straight while outscoring opponents by an average of 19.6 points.
The Huskies have outscored Coppin State (1-2) by 30.5 points per game in taking all four matchups in the series, but last season's meeting was the closest - 76-64 on Dec. 20.
The Eagles, though, have lost their only two games this season against Division I foes. After beating Division II Cheyney in its season opener, Coppin State fell 78-68 at Loyola (Md.) on Monday and 92-65 at Oklahoma on Friday.
Senior Tony Gallo was the lone bright spot in those defeats, scoring a combined 45 points. He had 17 against the Huskies last year.
The Eagles have dropped 36 consecutive contests against ranked opponents by an average of 25.8 points since defeating then-No. 6 South Carolina on March 14, 1997.
Coppin State won't have to worry about facing Huskies freshman point guard Ryan Boatright, who was suspended six games by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits. Boatright had been held out of the first three contests and will miss two more following this one.