As No. 19 UConn struggled mightily in its 81-48 loss at No. 11 Louisville on Saturday, it continued on a recent trend that the Huskies have been going through.
UConn (24-7, 12-6) simply can’t score on a consistent basis if any of their main three weapons are having an off-night, and lately, that’s definitely been the case. The Huskies are averaging a little over 73 points a game this season but they’ve failed to crack 70 points its last six games and haven’t done it since a February 15th overtime win over Memphis.
Shabazz Napier is playing heavy minutes during that stretch — at least 37 minutes in UConn’s last five games before 34 minutes in the Louisville loss — and finally had an off-day against the Cardinals, but the senior point guard needs more help from Ryan Boatright, DeAndre Daniels and his Huskies teammates if UConn wants to make a postseason run.
Napier and Boatright combined for 14 points on 4-for-24 shooting from the field in the loss to Louisville (26-5, 15-3) on Saturday while Daniels finished with 17 points. The UConn backcourt duo of Napier and Boatright usually averages just over 30 points per game.
Boatright, a junior guard, and Daniels, a junior forward, both average just over 12 points a game this season but have gone cold over the recent six-game stretch.
Boatright has shot 18-for-62 from the field over the six-game stretch while Daniels has only averaged 8.6 points a game while failing to crack double-figures in four of those games.
Connecticut could try to turn to other options, but Niels Giffey is rather one-dimensional as a shooter on the offensive end while Lasan Kromah provides a lot of energy but isn’t necessarily a guy that can create on his own.
The Huskies also have to miss the production of sophomore guard Omar Calhoun, who is going through one of the worst sophomore slumps in America. The 6-foot-6 Calhoun had a respectable freshman season, averaging 11.1 points in 32.1 minutes on 40 percent shooting, but after scoring in double-figures the first three games of the season, Calhoun has only done that twice since then as he hasn’t registered a point since a February 6th loss to Cincinnati.
Calhoun hasn’t scored in the last seven games he’s appeared in, a span that totals 49 minutes of playing time. The sophomore is averaging 4.5 points in 15.1 minutes while shooting 31 percent this season.
So without a lot of other options to turn to, UConn really needs Boatright and/or Daniels to get rolling as the postseason begins next week or the Huskies could be in serious trouble.