Thursday, November 29, 2012

No Apologies: Kevin Ollie, UConn Grab a Win Over UNH

I'm gonna blog as well as UConn played tonight ... which is to say, not very well. Not well at all. Though certainly better than UNH, which isn't a very good team.

In all seriousness, UConn can take some solace in that it won a game despite not playing very well in any particular area. Even winning a rebounding battle (43-40) for the first time this season isn't overly impressive when you consider the opponent.

But, a win is a win is a win, and as Kevin Ollie rightly noted, "I'm not gonna apologize for it."

Nor should he. But clearly, UConn has to play much better if it expects to upend No. 16 NC State Saturday night at the Garden. Ryan Boatright's quote on that game was telling:

"NC State's a great team. They're athletic, they've got the size, they've got a good point guard, C.J. Leslie's a great player. And, it's in the Garden. Being in New York, period, is going to up your enthusiasm. We've got to up the intensity, or we're going to get embarassed."

Indeed, these Huskies do tend to play up or down to their competition level. I don't see a lot of games where the walk-ons get to get in on the fun this season.

*** Boatright played well tonight with a season-high 19 points (9-for-11 from the foul line), along with four assists and just one turnover. Omar Calhoun added 16 points and a career-best eight rebounds. DeAndre Daniels had a career-high 10 rebounds.

Ollie on Calhoun: "I like his rebounding, I like his aggressiveness, getting 15 points, getting to the free throw lin 11 times. (But) he's got to play better. The Big East is going to be tough sledding."

Said Daniels: “I talk to K.O. every day, he’s always telling me my offense is going to come, all you’ve got to do is keep rebounding. Keep rebounding and everything’s going to fall in place.”

*** Tyler Olander continued his recent funk, fouling out in just 16 minutes of action. He did manage eight points and four boards in that time, but his propensity to pick up fouls is a concern.

“We’ve got the guys we’ve got, we’re going to play with them, believe in them,” said Ollie. “Hopefully, Tyler believes in himself. He’s got to stop fouling. I need him in the game for more minutes.”

*** Shabazz Napier also had an off-night, finishing with just five points, three assists and a pair of turnovers. Why is the junior guard so inconsistent?, Ollie was asked.

“If I had the answer, I’d have a lot of people sitting on my couch and I’d be a psychiatrist,” the coach joked.

*** UConn is providing plus/minus stats after games this season. It's nice, though the numbers can be misleading. Case in point: Napier had the best plus/minus tonight at +14, followed by Boatright at +12 and Olander at +10.

That's it. We'll have some video a little later tonight.

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