WASHINGTON — The defending college basketball national champions, who also happen to be the top-ranked team in the country just over a month before beginning its defense of that title, were so dominant in their latest victory that their head coach had to grasp at something to keep his team focused and fearful.
That moment came just six minutes before the merciful end of today’s contest, when Connecticut head coach Danny Hurley called a timeout and laid into his club for not getting back on defense with urgency. (We cleaned up the actual language he used for the purposes of this publication.)
At the moment of Hurley’s tirade, the scoreboard read the following: Connecticut 72, Georgetown 47.
No amount of yelling, as effective as it is and will be to keep the Huskies sharp going into March, can change the fact that this year’s UConn team is as good, and in some ways, even better, than the team that cut the nets down less than a year ago.
Alex Karaban scored 17 of his 25 points in the first half, and the Huskies put the competitive nature of Saturday’s game to bed early in their 89-64 victory over the Georgetown Hoyas inside Capital One Arena. Freshman guard Stephon Castle had 17 points for No. 1 Connecticut, who used 9-0 and 11-0 runs to build a 52-28 lead at halftime on its way to its 12th consecutive victory and the largest margin of victory against Georgetown in the 74-game history of this series..
Despite the lead never going down below 20 at any point in the second half (and for the final 24:24 of the game overall), Hurley still took the time out near the end of the contest to give a number of his starters a tongue-lashing for a lack of hustling back on defense on a possession.
“He was just mad that we weren’t playing to [the] UConn standard … We looked soft on the defensive end,” Karaban said. “We weren’t sharp on the offensive end. That makes him him. That’s why he’s the best coach.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday afternoon’s contest, with photos taken by ALOST staff photographer Yusuf Abdullah. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 25 pictures in total.