UConn Impressive; Competition Now Goes from NE-10 to Big 10
The Huskies shot 53 percent from the floor and 43 percent on 3-pointers (6-for-13 in the second half). They scored 26 fast-break points. Ryan Boatright had 22 points and six assists, DeAndre Daniels had a double-double (15 points, 14 boards) as well as four blocks, and Omar Calhoun impressed again, scoring 16 of his 20 points in the latter half and hitting 5 of 6 3-pointers. Calhoun started over Niels Giffey, who chipped in with 12 points off the bench.
It keeps coming: R.J. Evans had eight points and five assists off the bench, Tyler Olander had 10 points, Enosch Wolf had a putback dunk, Leon Tolksdorf hit just one of five shots but had a nice-looking stroke on his 3-pointer.
It wasn’t perfect (witness UConn’s 29-for-45 from the foul line) but it was certainly better than Thursday’s 15-point win over AIC. (It wasn't a perfect day on another front: Ron Patterson of Brewster Academy, who had drawn some interest from UConn, committed to Syracuse).
Now, things get a bit trickier: No. 14 Michigan State on Friday in Germany.
The Huskies will practice Monday at Gampel and bus down to New York City’s JFK Airport on Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. flight to Germany. The Huskies will arrive in Frankfurt on Wednesday at 9:45 a.m. (local time). The game is Friday at 6 p.m. (EST) and will be televised. An added bonus for listeners on WTIC-1080: Jim Calhoun will provide color commentary alongside play-by-play man Joe D’Ambrosio.
Here’s some notes and quotes from today’s game:
(on DeAndre Daniels)
"I’m looking for him to rebound like that. We need him to be all over the glass. I thought he did a heck of a job attacking the basketball, going to the ball in traffic. That’s a good steppingstone for him.”
“This is two exhibition games, so we’re not going to get too high, too low. But if he continues to do this and play with that effort and that resiliency that we need, he’s going to be a good, good player for us and have an imprint on this season. I always want them to put their signature on it, and he put his signature on this game with 14 rebounds.”
(on the foul shooting)
“I like us getting to the free throw line. We’ve definitely got to shoot a better percentage from the free throw line, but that’ll come. I think we’ve got a good free-throw shooting team. Phil is going to take his time a little bit more, knock down his shots as he gets a little more comfortable with the rhythm of the game.”
(on Omar Calhoun)
“He doesn’t care. If he makes or miss, he’s going to shoot the next one. He wants the next shot. The wonderful thing about him is you don’t have to run any plays for him. He’s getting it off of just being a basketball player … The beautiful thing about him is, he stays in the gym. Make or miss, he stays in the gym. He’s a wonderful kid, and I’m glad he’s on our team.”
(on Michigan State and the trip to Germany)
“I don’t think of it as an obstacle, I look at it as an opportunity. First and foremost, we’re honoring our troops. That’s a great honor for our kids … “I love Michigan State, I think Tom Izzo does a great job with his group, but we’re going to come out and play.”
“This is why you’re in this role, to be a blessing to somebody else, getting an opportunity for our university, our players and coaching staff … Our troops do a wonderful job for us to have all the liberties over here. To go there and maybe put a smile on their faces is a wonderful thing. Hopefully, our kids don’t take that for granted.”
(on Michigan State)
“Friday’s the real deal … but we’ll be ready and prepared for that. I can’t wait.”
(on Omar Calhoun)
“I don’t hate on anybody that can score. He’s a terrific player, a great scorer. I just tell him all the time, ‘Don’t get big-headed with these exhibition games.’ We’ve got some real tough competition coming up. The Big East is no joke. Keep your confidence up, but don’t get too gassed up.”
(on his unorthodox shooting style)
“I’ve heard people say that. I just see it go in … At the end of the day, I feel comfortable shooting like that. It goes in, so I’m not gonna change it.”