Through the first three games of the season, UConn junior forward DeAndre Daniels had scored a combined 19 points. On Sunday, Daniels surpassed his season scoring total with a game-high 24 points as the Huskies stayed undefeated with a 77-60 win over Boston University at Gampel Pavilion.
Daniels scored 12 points in each half. The first dozen came early, giving UConn a hot start offensively. The second dozen — along with 12 second half points from Shabazz Napier — helped UConn put an end to the upset bid by the Patriot League favorite.
UConn started the second half with a 37-32 lead as the Terriers were attempt to comeback from a double-digit deficit. Daniels had the first five points of the half for the Huskies, but even his best game of the season to date couldn’t stop BU from getting back into the game. Three minutes into the second half, D.J. Irving gave BU its first lead of the day, but it was a short-lived one after Ryan Boatright responded with a jumper on the ensuing possession.
That started a 13-4 UConn run, with the main highlight being Daniels’ emphatic dunk that gave UConn a seven-point edge. From there, Napier, with another stat-stuffing performance (12 points, 12 rebounds, six assists). guided UConn to the win and a 4-0 start to the season.
Daniels opened up the game with 12 of UConn’s first 17 points. Boston University didn’t surpass 12 points as a team until there was 7:26 remaining in the first half. Daniels’ offensive outburst sparked a first half lead that got to as large as 19 at one point. However, in the final five minutes of the first half, the Terriers climbed back in with a 19-5 run to head into halftime. That let up by the Huskies allowed BU to briefly pull ahead in the second half.
It’s a promising performance from Daniels, who scored zero points in 18 minutes against Yale just six days ago. But there’s a difference between getting open looks against BU and having to score against teams he and the Huskies will see in the American such as Louisville and Memphis.
Another concern for the Huskies, besides blowing the big lead, is on the glass. The frontline was UConn’s big question entering this season, and will likely continue to raise concerns. The Terriers matched the Huskies in the rebound department, 36-36, and came away with six more offensive rebounds. Napier — who is listed 6-foot-1 — grabbed 1/3 of the team’s total boards.
UConn’s next game is against Boston College, a team that is also questionable on the glass, on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. After BC, the Huskies have a game against Loyola (MD) before going head-to-head with No. 11 Florida and its improving frontline after Dorian Finney-Smith joined the Gator frontcourt on Saturday alongside Patric Young and Will Yeguete.