Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kevin Ollie: 'That's the Team I Want to Coach, RIght There'

Kevin Ollie walked up to the podium in the press room of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, looked out at the assembled media and just shook his head.

“Guys, I don’t know what to tell you,” he said. “Coach Blaney’s been with me a long time, and I don’t think he’s ever gonna see a stat sheet like this. But I really love the fact that we have more points than Providence.”

That about sums it up.

PC outrebounded UConn 55-24. That matches the largest margin ever in a Big East game. No fewer than 28 of the Friars’ boards came on the offensive end.

And yet the Huskies emerged with the 82-79 overtime win.

How, exactly? With one of the few body parts that wasn’t hurting Ryan Boatright when it was all said and done.

“Heart,” Boatright said. “Heart, man. Figured out a way to win, man. We stuck together when the intensity picked up.”

Some more notes and quotes on the game:

On Omar Calhoun’s clutch corner 3-pointer that snapped a 76-76 tie with 41 seconds left in OT.

Boatright: “He makes that shot all the time. It was great that he made it under pressure. But it was just a regular corner 3. I knew once I went baseline, they figured me or Shabazz was going to take that last shot, so when I went up I knew they were going to crash. I kicked it out and he knocked it down.”

Will that help boosts Calhoun’s confidence?

“He’s got enough confidence,” Boatright said with a laugh. “We tell him he’s got the ability to make that shot all the time, so I’m just glad he had the confidence to take it.”

As if to prove that point, Calhoun said: “It felt good. I knew I was going to knock that down. It was too big of a shot to miss … That’s something I know I can do. I’ve just got to keep taking steps forward from here … I just know I’ve got to be ready. That’s what I put my work in for. The extra shots in the gym is something I can do to be confident and be able to knock that shot down.”

Boatright on the final play of regulation, an off-balance shot of his that was blocked by Kris Dunn:

“It was designed for me to get open and be ‘iso.’ I should have made a better move. When I drove middle, Enosch went to set a screen for Shabazz at the same time. Everything collapsed, and I couldn’t get a shot off.”

*** Boatright battled most of the game with a bum right ankle after turning it early on. He said he’s also been battling left knee tendonitis pretty much all season.

*** Olie always seems to add an inspirational quote after a UConn win.

“That’s the team I came down to Providence with,” he said, specifically referring to the team’s second-half effort. “That’s the team I want to coach right there.”

*** Providence began the game with starters Vincent Council and LaDontae Henton on the bench (“coach’s decision,” according Friar head man Ed Cooley). UConn took advantage and jumped out to a 25-10 lead as the Friars missed their first nine shots. But once Council checked in with 10:47 left in the opening half, the game change. PC immediately went on an 8-0 run, had pulled to within one by halftime and took its first lead of the game in the early seconds of the latter half.

Council finished with 15 points and 10 assists before fouling out early in overtime.

*** Three of UConn’s big men (Tyler Olander, Enosch Wolf and DeAndre Daniels) all also fouled out in OT. Olander was battling flu-like symptoms and was a game-time decision but wound up starting. He finished with just two points and no rebounds before fouling out.

*** Dunn didn’t have a great homecoming, going 1-for-7 form the floor for seven points, one assists and two turnovers before fouling out. He did grab eight rebounds and had the big block of Boatright at the end of regulation.

*** PC’s plus-31 rebound margin matches the one St. John’s managed over Seton Hall (64-33) on Jan. 26, 1997. The Red Storm won that game, 66-62.

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