Thursday, December 22, 2011

Calhoun Goes on Christmas Break

Leave it to Jim Calhoun to sum up Ryan Boatright's night as follows:

“He played awful tonight,” Calhoun said. “He made a big play (but) he was awful tonight. It’s the first game that I would say, for a really good player, he was awful … he was part of the problem when he came in. He read the scoreboard and thought it was time for us just to go. And he hurt us a little bit. But being the kind of competitor he is, he makes a big shot to put the game away.”

Boatright's 3-pointer was the big shot in UConn's 79-71 win over Fairfield. He followed by grabbing a rebound and hitting Jeremy Lamb with a long pass for a dunk, then hitting a pair of free throws to seal the deal.

“It was wide-open,” Boatright said. “The shot clock was going down, I was in rhythm. I just took it and knocked it down. I’ve been in a lot of pressure situations in my life. I know how to deal with them.”

But Calhoun wasn't pleased with the rest of Boatright's night. He wasn't pleased with watching his team squander a 22-point lead to to just three late in the game, either.

“We looked at the scoreboard and decided it was time to go home for Christmas,” Calhoun said.

Calhoun also was hit with his first technical of the season, by Michael Stephens with about 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half. And he was quite cranky after the game, particularly when asked about the Andre Drummond/Michael Bradley scholarship situation.

“We gave you the information at the time, which was correct," he said. "My first responsibility wasn’t to tell the press what was going on, because It’s none of your business. It’s a private matter between two young men.”

Perhaps Calhoun was most peeved about the fact that this is the last game he'll be able to coach until Jan. 7 at Rutgers. In fact, after a Christmas Night practice, he won't even be able to coach during practices until after the Jan. 3 Seton Hall game.

That's different than what happened last year to Bruce Pearl, who was suspended Tennessee's first eight SEC games for lying to the NCAA but was able to coach during practices -- and even coach a non-conference game vs. UConn in the middle of the penalty.

The difference is that Pearl's penalty was levied by the SEC; Calhoun's by the NCAA.

“Call Indianapolis," Calhoun shrugged. "They sent us an interpretation, telling me simply that I can’t coach the team."

Calhoun will meet back up with his team on Jan. 4 in New York, where the Huskies will be staying in between the Seton Hall and Rutgers games.

"I'm going to miss the team, obviously," he added. "It’ll be very difficult for me, but they’ll be in good hands. We're 10-0 ... and I'll see them in New York."

*** While Tyler Olander’s team got the victory, Ryan Olander got a lot of bragging rights in the battle between brothers. Both players went scoreless in the first half, but Ryan wound up with eight points and eight rebounds, including a powerful dunk late in the game that brought the Stags to within six.

Tyler finished with just two points and two boards.

Worse for Tyler, he was soundly rejected by his brother midway through the second half.

“They’ll be talking about that for a while,” said Stags coach Sydney Johnson.

Said Ryan about the sibling showdown: “It was exciting, but I’m glad it’s over now. It’s an experience not many people can say they’ve had. I’m lucky to share that with my family.”

The Olanders mother, Tracy, led the pregame Pledge of Allegiance, and the entire family wore t-shirts that said “FairConn” on the front.

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