Published November 02, 2011
Jeremy Lamb scored 17 points and Shabazz Napier added 15 assists to help No. 4 Connecticut rout American International 78-35 in an exhibition game Wednesday night.
Napier also had nine points and seven rebounds for the defending national champions, but it was one of the Huskies' trio of talented freshmen who perhaps inadvertently made the game's biggest play.
Freshman forward DeAndre Daniels, immediately after hitting a 3-pointer late in the first half, put his hand to his eye to make a "monocle". Upon seeing the celebratory gesture, the 69-year-old Calhoun immediately leapt to his feet to pull Daniels out of the game.
"Why would you do that?" Calhoun said. "He can do that on a night if we're in New Orleans playing for the national championship. To do it against a Division II team up 35 points? I just don't think (that's needed).
"He's one of the great kids in the program. He's one of the nicest kids I've ever met. It was atypical," Calhoun continued. "He knew. And of course when he got to the bench, he knew better. I don't think you'll see that move again."
Daniels, who finished with 10 points in his first unofficial game, agreed with his coach after the fact.
"Coach is right. I was wrong for doing that," Daniels said. "I was just kind of in the moment."
UConn jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the game's first six minutes.
The Yellow Jackets missed their first eight shots from the field and didn't score until Braxton Gardner's 3-pointer with 13:51 to play in the first half. American International made just five field goals — all 3-pointers — on 28 attempts in the opening half but trailed UConn only 28-15 at the break.
The Huskies scored 50 points in the second half to pull away.
"We still have a lot, a lot of things to work on but it was just nice to get back to playing games," Lamb said.
Carter finished with 16 points, hitting four 3-pointers. Center Andre Drummond, the most heralded of UConn's freshmen, made his debut on schedule despite the broken nose and mild concussion he sustained in practice last week.
The 6-foot-11 Drummond, who was wearing a protective mask, scored his first points with a thunderous tip-dunk following a miss by Lamb. He finished with 10 points and four rebounds.
The third UConn freshman, guard Ryan Boatright was held out of the game as UConn and the NCAA investigate his eligibility. Boatright, who was on the bench and not in uniform during the game, is not being forced to the sidelines for academic reasons, school officials said, but it's unclear what the issue is.
UConn is 42-6 in exhibitions under Calhoun and has won 35 straight. It has now beaten AIC, Calhoun's alma mater, five times in such games over the last six seasons
"We knew we had trouble scoring and they certainly proved that tonight, didn't they?" said AIC coach Art Luptowski, noting that his team made only 10 field goals in 50 attempts. "Good teams accentuate your weakness, and they certainly do that."