Connecticut may be 2-0 to start the season, but coach Jim Calhoun is far from happy with his team’s inconsistent play.
The No. 12 Huskies will try to meet their coach’s expectations and reach the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Tuesday night at Gampel Pavilion when they face Hofstra for the first time in more than 33 years.
Connecticut opened 2009-10 with a 75-66 win over William & Mary on Friday, but Calhoun called the performance “lackluster” after the Huskies failed to pull away from a team that went 10-20 last season.
Calhoun wasn’t impressed with his team’s performance Monday, either. The Huskies beat Colgate 77-63 in the first round of the Season Tip-Off, but led by only one point at halftime before finally solving the Raiders’ defensive scheme with a 21-5 run that helped them advance to the quarterfinals.
“We played in a few bursts,” said Calhoun, who guided Connecticut to last season’s Final Four. “If we do that (Tuesday) night we will not be going to New York (for the semifinals).
“This Connecticut team has got to start playing like a Connecticut team. Forget the shooting. Forget every other thing. It’s got to get tougher. It’s got to get more aggressive.”
Stanley Robinson made all eight of his shots - including two 3-pointers - against Colgate for a team-high 18 points. The senior forward’s performance came after he had 17 points and shot 7 of 14 against the Tribe.
While Robinson is providing solid play in the frontcourt, guard Jerome Dyson is looking to rebound from Monday’s subpar performance. The senior made 3 of 15 shots and finished with 10 points against the Raiders, after scoring 27 and shooting 9 for 17 in the season opener.
Perhaps facing another unranked opponent at Gampel Pavilion can help UConn produce a more consistent performance. The team has won 19 in a row when hosting unranked teams, outscoring them by an average of 20.3 points.
The Huskies, though, haven’t faced Hofstra (1-1) since an 80-78 overtime win March 13, 1976.
The Pride set up the rare matchup with the Huskies by beating another team from Connecticut on Monday, defeating Yale 68-63. Three days earlier, Hofstra opened its season with a 101-65 loss at top-ranked Kansas.
Nathaniel Lester is looking for another solid performance after shooting 8 for 10 and scoring 19 points Monday. That was a much improved effort from the junior guard after he went 2 for 8 and finished with six points against the Jayhawks. He averaged 6.6 points on 38.5 percent shooting last season, but is now filling an increased role.
Charles Jenkins, who led the Pride with 19.7 points per game last season, is off to a strong start to 2009-10. The junior guard had 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds in the win over Yale after scoring 23 points in Friday’s opener.
The winner of this game will face either LSU or Western Kentucky in the semifinals Nov. 25 at Madison Square Garden.