GAME NOTES: The ninth-ranked Connecticut Huskies are the obvious favorites in today's non-conference matchup with the Holy Cross Crusaders, a game that will be played at the XL Center.
Holy Cross is just 4-6 overall this season and has yet to open the Patriot League portion of its schedule. The Crusaders have won two of their last three outings, including a 71-60 decision over Sacred Heart back on December 9th. Still, they carry an 0-5 record in true road games into tonight's affair and have lost their last four meetings with Big East Conference opponents.
UConn has yet to play a true road game this season, and it carries a 6-0 home record into this afternoon's tilt. The Huskies, who are 8-1 overall, carry a three-game winning streak into this affair, and they have been idle since December 8th when they knocked off Harvard by a 67-53 final.
It is certainly surprising to see that Holy Cross leads the all-time series with UConn by a commanding 42-21 margin, but the programs haven't met on the hardwood since 1988.
There are three double-digit scorers on the roster for Holy Cross, and Devin Brown leads the trio with 14.7 ppg on 42 percent shooting from three-point range. R.J. Evans provides 12.4 ppg on 50 percent field goal efficiency, and Dave Dudzinski adds 10.0 ppg to go along with 7.0 rpg. The Crusaders are generating 66.6 ppg, slightly less than the 67.1 ppg that they are surrendering. Brown was dominant against Sacred Heart last time out, as he poured in 22 points in 29 minutes of action. The Crusaders also got 12 points from Evans and 10 points from Justin Burrell. Holy Cross jumped out to a 15- point lead at intermission after shooting 51.7 percent from the field in the opening stanza. The club limited Sacred Heart to 34.3 percent shooting from the field in the tilt.
Jeremy Lamb has been tremendous for UConn through the team's first nine games, as the talented guard is scoring 20.0 ppg on 51.2 percent shooting from the field. Lamb has also notched 20 steals, proof that he gets the job done at both ends of the court. Ryan Boatright has only played in three games for the Huskies, but the fact that he is averaging 16.0 ppg on 55.2 percent field goal efficiency excites the fans of the program. The third and final double-digit scorer for UConn is Shabazz Napier, who checks in with 15.9 ppg, 6.2 apg and 2.0 spg. The Huskies are generating 74.6 ppg while holding opponents to 63.9 ppg on 36.8 percent shooting. In the 14-point victory over a previously unbeaten Harvard squad last time out, Lamb led the charge with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Andre Drummond tallied 12 points. As for Boatright, he posted 11 points. Limiting Harvard to 36 percent field goal efficiency was key to the victory.
There is little doubt that UConn will defeat Holy Cross this evening, as Lamb will be far too much for the Crusaders to handle. The victory should be assured early on.