Stats & Info: Ryan Boatright

UConn could struggle down low vs MSU

November, 9, 2012
When the Michigan State Spartans and Connecticut Huskies open up the season today, the Huskies will have their hands full.

Michigan State has an imposing duo down low of Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix along with small forward Branden Dawson. Does UConn have the manpower to compete with the Spartans around the basket?

Payne, Nix and Dawson all ranked in the top eight of the Big Ten last season in offensive rebound percentage. Dawson, who grabbed 13.3 percent of available offensive rebounds, led the conference.

The Spartans led the Big Ten in offensive rebound percentage and points in the paint per game last season.

UConn ranked 284th in the country in defensive rebound percentage last season. The Huskies lost their top two (Andre Drummond and Alex Oriakhi) and four of their top five defensive rebounders by percentage.

On the other end of the court, Payne led the Big Ten in block percentage -- he blocked 6.9 percent of opponents' field-goal attempts while he was on the court -- and Dawson ranked eighth.

UConn doesn’t have much down low. Their four returning frontcourt players -- Enosch Wolf, DeAndre Daniels, Niels Giffey and Tyler Olander -- combined for eight post-up points last season. And all four of those players drew fewer than three fouls per game, so getting the MSU big men into foul trouble may be a difficult task.

If the Huskies won't be able to compete around the basket, how will they compete with the Spartans?

UConn will rely heavily on their backcourt trio of Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier and freshman Omar Calhoun. Boatright and Napier each took more than 20 percent of the Huskies' shots when they were on the court last season.

Keith Appling will be the key defensively for the Spartans. He'll be responsible for matching up with one of those guards. Last season, Appling held opponents below 30 percent shooting. Appling, Nix and Dawson were all in the top five in the Big Ten in fewest points per play allowed among the 82 players to defend at least 100 plays.

Of the 125 players nationally to defend at least 250 plays last season, Appling held opponents to the 12th-fewest points per play.

The combination of the Spartans' size and talent down low and their defense will make Kevin Ollie's debut an uphill battle for UConn.
For the second time this season, USC was held to 40 points or fewer.
Two weeks after scoring 36 points in a loss to Cal Poly, the Trojans fell to Minnesota 55-40. At 55.1 ppg, USC is on track for its lowest scoring season since averaging 52.8 in 1948-49. That’s also the last season in which the Trojans were twice held to 40 points or fewer.

Wildcats can’t score in first loss
Both Northwestern and Baylor entered Sunday’s contest undefeated, but you wouldn’t know it from the result. Baylor won 69-41, holding Northwestern to 24.1 percent from the field. It was the worst shooting performance by the Wildcats in nearly 10 years. The 41 points are the fewest Northwestern has scored in its home court since a 40-39 win over North Florida in 2006. Meanwhile, Baylor was 25-for-30 from two-point range, an 83.3 two-point field-goal percentage that is their highest over the past 15 years.

Freshmen shine off the bench
A pair of freshmen starred off the bench on Saturday in Connecticut’s 75-62 win over Arkansas. Playing in just his second game, Ryan Boatright led the Huskies with 23 points, adding five rebounds and six assists. He’s the first UConn freshman with a 20-5-5 game off the bench since Kemba Walker against Missouri in the 2009 Elite Eight. Meanwhile, B.J. Young led all scorers with a career-high 28 points in the losing effort. It was the third most points by a freshman off the bench this season. The rest of the Razorbacks combined to shoot 24.6 percent from the field.

16 points and no field goals
Despite not connecting on a field goal, Durand Scott was Miami's top scorer in Saturday's 83-75 win over Massachusetts. Scott missed all six of his field goal attempts, and his 16 points came courtesy of a 16-for-18 performance at the line. It's the most points scored by a Division I player without a field goal since Binghamton's Sebastian Hermenier's 17 against Vermont in 2006. Scott's total is the most by a major conference player without a field goal since Indiana's Michael Lewis also scored 16 against Minnesota in 1998.

Top scoring performance of season
Weber State's Damian Lillard had the nation's top scoring game of the season, finishing with 41 points in a 91-89 double-overtime win over San Jose State. Lillard only had 24 points at the end of regulation, but scored 17 of the Wildcats' 24 points in the two overtimes. The 41 points are the second most in school history behind Stan Mayhew's 45 points in 1977. He's the first Division I player to crack the 40-point mark since Harrison Barnes in the 2011 ACC Tournament. Lillard is the top scorer in the nation, averaging 28.2 ppg.