On Sunday, November 6th, the C.W. Post men’s basketball team traveled to face the University of Connecticut Huskies, a tough task, as UConn is the defending Division I NCAA Champions. In their second and final exhibition game of the season, the Pioneers lost to the Huskies by a score of 91-61.
Although the pace on offense was slow at the beginning of the game for both squads, the Huskies eventually found their rhythm as their lead at the half was 54-21. UConn sophomore forward Jeremy Lamb was silky smooth from the field as he shot 10-14 with 23 points, to go along with four rebounds and five assists. Lamb was dangerous from both inside and beyond the arc as he also had a couple of three pointers to give the Pioneers a ton of trouble.
On Sunday, the Huskies proved why they are ranked fourth in the preseason list of Division I college basketball programs in the country. Their offense didn’t only rely on Lamb. The Huskies had a multitude of options, including the top-recruit in the country: 6’11”, 270 pound center, Andre Drummond. He has already been declared the Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year and has been discussed as a possible top pick in the NBA Draft. This freshman has enormous size and talent and displayed it against the Pioneers as he had a double-double, scoring 16 points on 8-10 shooting to go along with 10 boards and three blocked shots. The crowd at the XL Center went wild on a couple of his nasty, vicious dunks, most notably on a breakaway, where Huskies’ sophomore point guard Shabazz Napier threw a pass off the backboard for Drummond to slam home as the crowd erupted.
There was little the Pioneers could do to stop the defending champs, as the Huskies had an abundance of something you just can’t teach: height. The Pioneers’ tallest players are sophomore forwards Vaughn Allen and Amir Turif, each standing at 6’6”. On the other hand, the Huskies had six players who saw floor time and stood at at least 6’8”. Not to mention, some of these tall players, such as freshman forward DeAndre Daniels, could also shoot from beyond the arc.
Allen led the Pioneers with 14 points while chipping in for five rebounds. The backcourt for the Pioneers had a tough time getting going on offense, as senior guard Stefan Bonneau finished with 11 points, shooting 4-19 from the field. After an impressive showing against Saint John’s University on October 25th, scoring 28 points, Bonneau’s first bucket in this contest came with just over two minutes remaining in the first half of play. Junior guard Tobin Carberry also struggled from the floor, going 3-18 scoring 10 points, while securing seven rebounds.
The Huskies were a tough test for the Pioneers. The Huskies’ size made it difficult on both sides of the ball for the Pioneers. The Huskies shot just under 60% from the field for the game, boasting five players in double-digit scoring, while the Pioneers shot 29%. Another area where the Pioneers could not find a rhythm in was the three-point shot. The Pioneers were 4-19 (21%) from beyond the arc, while UConn was an impressive 7-12 (58%) for three.
However, the Pioneers did improve their play after the first half of play. Adjustments seemed to be made as the Pioneers outscored the Huskies 40-37 in the second half. Despite being severely undersized in comparison to UConn, the Pioneers battled and created 23 points off turnovers and 18 second-chance points.
The Pioneers begin their regular season on Saturday, November 11th, at 6 p.m., as they travel to face Saint Anselm College for the Saint Rose Tip-Off Tournament in Albany, New York.