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Week In Review: UConn-Holy Cross Highlight of Quiet Finals Week

UConn's dominating performance was the big story from the past week but several other area teams had big wins of their own to brag about. Find out why Derek Kellogg and Steve Donahue were smiling so much this weekend in our latest College Basketball In Review.

Finals week is a time for student-athletes across the country to focus on academics for five to six days, while college hoops fans are forced to suffer from withdrawal and TV reruns. Fortunately five of the area schools finished finals last week and were back in action over the weekend. Here's the details from this past week of play, along with a look ahead to this week's slate of games.

Sunday #8 UConn (9-1) Defeated Holy Cross (4-7) 77-40: Sunday's game was close for about 15 minutes more than most people expected it would be, but in the end UConn proved way too much for the Crusaders. Holy Cross trailed 25-21 with 6:38 to play in the first half before UConn went off on an 18-0 run to put away the Crusaders. Despite the lopsided final score, both teams had some positives to take away from the blowout in Storrs.

The number one and scariest observation for any team that has to face UConn the rest of the way, is how fast freshmen Andre Drummond has developed. The forward finished with game-highs of 24 points and eight rebounds and hit 11 of his 12 field goal attempts. After the game, in an interview with the UConn website, Jim Calhoun described Drummond's improvement as, "About 100 percent, and I think he's got about another thousand to go. He's got talent." Talent is an understatement; the Connecticut native showed his whole arsenal of moves Sunday, including a new turnaround jump shot that he hadn't displayed yet this season. Add in his shot blocking ability, five blocks Sunday, and the Connecticut frontcourt could be rounding in to shape, with a superstar in the making.

For Holy Cross, there were far fewer bright spots but junior guard R.J. Evans was certainly one of them. The Salem, Connecticut native finished with a team-high 15 points and held UConn star Jeremy Lamb to just 10 points, all while being ill during the game. Evans made an impact early with eight points in the first 14 minutes, with all eight of his points occurring in the paint. As a team, the Crusaders were held to 16 points in the paint, Evans accounted for 12 of them, despite being just 6'3", 200. While the junior did struggle from the field (7-of-17), it was great to see Evans be more aggressive with the rest of the team struggling so much.

Saturday: UMass (8-3) Defeated Quinnipiac (5-5) 72-67: UMass and Quinnipiac is quickly challenging Boston University-Northeastern as the most highly-competitive, non-conference, basketball rivalry in New England. For the third straight year UMass came away with a victory of five points or less, this time behind strong performances from Chaz Williams and Terrell Vinson. After trailing by four at halftime, the Minutemen went on an 18-0 run to start the second half and held on in the final minute to beat the Bobcats.

Chaz Williams posted a typical statline of 14 points, seven assists and two rebounds but needed to rely on Putney and Vinson for the win. Vinson came out of a several game funk with 13 points and eight rebounds and was the key factor in the win according to Williams and head coach Derek Kellogg. The junior sparked the Minutemen with his defense, rebounding and ability to run the floor in their run to open the half. One key thing to watch for UMass in the future will be their ability to close out games. For the second game in three contests, UMass nearly blew a big, second half lead and were forced to hit some high pressure free throws down the stretch.

Sunday: Boston College (4-7) Defeated Bryant (1-10) 75-55: Boston College earned their first winning streak of the year behind a career day from freshmen guard Lonnie Jackson. The reigning ACC Rookie of the Week poured in 26 points on seven 3-pointers and added five rebounds in the team's second consecutive double-digit win. While Bryant is certainly not the toughest of opponents, the Eagles showed some resiliency, overcoming a 10-2 Bulldogs run to end the first half, by answering with a 10-0 run of their own to open the second stanza.

After the game, Donahue expressed his satisfaction with the way his young team is shaping up. Expectations for wins are still low, but he thinks he's found a good rotation with several players including Eddie Odio, getting closer to being able to contribute. Jackson's performance and aggressiveness is exactly what Donahue wants to see out of the talented guard from California. Now if he can only get Patrick Heckmann to play a little smarter and if Matt Humprhey can break out out of his shooting funk, maybe Boston College will actually have a shot at earning eight or nine wins.

Sunday: Princeton (6-6) Defeated Northeastern (3-5) 71-62: Turnovers and a porous defense were too much for the Huskies to overcome as they dropped their fourth game in a row. Princeton scored 25 points off of 20 Northeastern turnovers and the Tigers knocked down 66 percent of their shots in the second half to overcome a four-point halftime deficit. Northeastern received strong performances from Jonathan Lee and freshmen big men Reggie Spencer and Quincy Ford but little from the team's more experienced forwards. Co-captain Joel Smith continued to struggle after his hot start to the season with nine points and three rebounds and two assists. All is not lost on Huntington Avenue but the rebuilding process is obviously still underway. Things won't get any easier for the Huskies as they take to the road for four games.

This Week's Games:


Northeastern @ Louisiana Tech-8 p.m. (2 stars)


Sacred Heart @ Boston College-7 p.m. (1.5 stars)



Northeastern @ N.C. State-7 p.m. (2.5 stars)

Bucknell @ Boston University-7 p.m. (3 stars)

San Francisco @ Holy Cross-7 p.m. (2 stars)

Fairfield @ UConn-7 p.m. (2 stars)

Florida Atlantic @ Harvard-7 p.m (1.5 stars)


Game of the Week: Thursday: Davidson @ UMass-7 p.m. (4 stars)

Fresh off a win over #12 Kansas, Davidson will travel to the Mullins Center Thursday night to take on UMass. Davidson is extremely talented and balanced with four players averaging double figures and it should be a great chance for both teams to earn a resume boosting victory. With no Steph Curry on the roster, UMass certainly has a chance to earn a victory that would propel them into the new year.