Post-game breakdown, video: Iowa State
UConn was wildly inconsistent this season right down to the final whistle, losing 77-64 to Iowa State Thursday in an NCAA tournament South Region game.
It was only the second time UConn has lost an NCAA tournament opener under Calhoun who is now 16-2. The other time came against San Diego in 2008. A.J. Price went down with a knee injury in the first half of that loss.
The Huskies had no excuse for what happened on Thursday at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville.
Some news, notes and quotes from the season-ending loss:
-- UConn played perhaps its worst 10 minutes of basketball to start the game and fell behind by 22. The Huskies climbed no closer than six in the second half.
"The Iowa State team showed up at a different speed and different level than what we played," coach Jim Calhoun said. "At times we certainly made a dent and came back, but the opening few minutes set the tone for the game."
-- The Huskies hurt their comeback cause by missing free throws and field goals. They went 15-for-22 overall from the foul line and shot just 37.5 percent from the field.
-- Iowa State went just 6-for-16 from three-point range but made all six in the first half while taking a 10-point lead.
UConn actually made more three-pointers overall, going 7-for-19.
-- UConn had a bigger and stronger frontcourt but Iowa State owned the boards, finishing with a decisive 41-24 edge.
The starting frontcourt trio of freshman Andre Drummond, junior Alex Oriakhi and sophomore Roscoe Smith combined for just nine points and 11 rebounds. Iowa State forward Royce White had 15 points and 13 rebounds.
-- Drummond is projected to be an NBA lottery pick in the 2012 draft. But he certainly didn't help his stock with his performance on Thursday.
He started out by playing lazy defense on Royce White who blew past him for a dunk on Iowa State's first possession. He had two quick fouls.
"I picked up two quick fouls and kind of threw us out of sync a little bit," Drummond said.
He finished with just two points, three rebounds and four blocks in 26 minutes.
Drummond was in no mood to talk about his future after the game.
"I'm not worried about that right now," Drummond said.
-- Sophomore Shabazz Napier had a game-high 22 points and six assists but took the loss very hard.
"I should have done something," Napier said. "I feel like I let my teammates down."
-- Sophomore Jeremy Lamb had a quiet start and ended up with 19 points on 6-for-15 shooting.
"I was getting open all game," Lamb said. "I just wasn't able to knock down my shot."
Lamb also declined to talk about his plans for next season. Most mock drafts list him as a lottery pick, ranking him around 10 to 12.
-- The Huskies will likely change drastically during the off-season. Oriakhi will contemplate his future. He had a disappointing season and had two points and three rebounds against Iowa Sate.
If UConn's post-season ban next season remains in place, upperclassmen can transfer without sitting out a year. Oriakhi plans to meet with his family sometime but has no timetable for a decision.
-- UConn had a season-low four turnovers in the game but also just eight assists.
-- The Huskies are only the fourth defending national champion to flame out in the first round since seeding began in 1979.
-- Iowa State had four players in double figures. Senior Chris Allen had 20 points while Scott Christopherson and White each had 15. Melvin Ejim had 11 points.
-- More Calhoun: "They played 40 minutes. We played sporadically and thus was the game."
-- Did UConn get caught looking ahead to a potential meeting with Kentucky?
Calhoun doesn't think so.
"If they did, they made a hell of a mistake," Calhoun said. "I don't think they did. … I felt we were ready for the game and obviously disappointed that we didn't play better."
-- Calhoun also didn't care to address whether he'll return next season.
"We're talking about tonight's game," Calhoun said. "We're not talking about me."
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