Florida St.-UConn Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 25, 2011
As the only ranked teams in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas, Connecticut and Florida State probably expected to meet in the championship game. Instead, both teams were stunned in the semifinals and the fourth-ranked Huskies and No. 22 Seminoles will play Saturday for third place. Connecticut (5-1) saw its 16-game win streak end with Friday's 68-63 loss to Central Florida, blowing a 17-point lead in the second half. "I can't be more disappointed in how we played," coach Jim Calhoun said. "We just stopped playing. We couldn't even get the ball inbounded near the end. Nobody stepped up and it was a complete disaster for us." Florida State (5-1), meanwhile, missed its first 15 shots in Friday's 46-41 loss to Harvard. The Seminoles actually turned in their best defensive effort of the season, limiting the Crimson to 27.3 percent shooting, but were undone by their own 36.2 percent shooting and 16 turnovers. "We got beat by a team today that was much hungrier than we were," coach Leonard Hamilton said. "They played a much more aggressive game, they showed an awful lot of toughness, and they executed their system a lot better than we executed our system." The defending national champion Huskies were shocked as their third-longest win streak in school history ended. Sophomore point guard Shabazz Napier, who has big shoes to fill in replacing Kemba Walker in the lineup, had a career-high seven turnovers, four points, five assists and four fouls in 31 minutes. Napier was a major culprit during a 17-2 run by the Knights that cut their deficit to two points, as UConn began to unravel. "That wasn't a run, it was an avalanche," Calhoun said. Huskies leading scorer Jeremy Lamb had 15 points but missed 11 of 16 shots. UConn's 13 turnovers led to 22 points for Central Florida. "I feel like I let the team down," Lamb said. "I turned the ball over in key moments. We've lost games before but this hurts. We just need to come out with energy tomorrow and be ready to play." It didn't appear that Florida State was ready to play Friday after its dismal start. The halftime score of 14-14 matched the lowest point total for a half in a Division I game since 1986. Shooting guard Michael Snaer was the lone player to reach double figures for either team with 10 points. How these teams match up in the frontcourt could be critical to deciding this contest. Florida State has the edge in experience in 23-year-old senior center Xavier Gibson and 26-year-old forward Bernard James. The Huskies have used 21-year-old center Alex Oriakhi off the bench in this tournament, with 18-year-old freshman Andre Drummond moving into the lineup. Both played well Friday, with Oriakhi finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Drummond getting 13 points, nine boards and four blocks. Florida State leads the series 4-2, and these teams have not met since the Seminoles won 67-60 in overtime in the preseason NIT semifinals Nov. 26, 1997.
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