Saturday, January 19, 2013

Kevin Ollie: 'We Played for 20 Minutes. You Can't Do That in the Big East'

Does UConn deserve credit for coming back from a 14-point second-half deficit in its eventual 69-61 loss at Pitt today, or do the Huskies deserve demerits for "sleepwalking" through the first half, as Shabazz Napier noted?

Probably a little of both.

Anyway, here's what the key characters had to say about the game. We'll have some video up later.

KEVIN OLLIE:

An interesting statement by Ollie, when asked if he was disappointed this will be the final time UConn plays Pitt for a while -- at least in Big East competition:



(on the game itself)

“We can’t spot them 13 points like we did in the first half. They came out aggressive. We didn’t rebound like I expect our team to rebound.”

“You’ve got to play for 40 minutes, I thought we played for 20. You can’t do that in the Big East.”

“They’re going to hit you, hold you, go over your back, rebound, play aggressive. We weren’t able to withstand that and hit first, in the first half. Our coaching staff challenged them, and they responded, but you can’t give a great team like Pittsburgh 13 points – especially on their home court.”

“We’re not a talented group where we can go individually and try to win. We’ve got to do it as a collective group, play hard, do all the small things, sacrifice your body. We didn’t do that in the first half, and it was an embarrassment. In the second half, we came out and played.”

(on how limited Shabazz Napier was)

“He was out on the court. He was 100 percent.”

(on what UConn did better vs. Pitt’s zone in second half)

“We move the basketball and played tough. It doesn’t come down to X’s and O’s, I didn’t draw up anything different. Our coaching staff didn’t come up with any magical formula. It was just being tough.”

“In the second half, we responded like champions. That’s how I want them to play.”

RYAN BOATRIGHT
“We came out so flat. There was no intensity on the whole squad. We dug ourselves too deep of a grave to climb out of. We did a good job trying to get out, but we died trying to come out of it.”

(on Shabazz)

“His shoulder’s messed up. As anybody could tell, he wasn’t himself. We need him to be healthy, as fast as possible.”

NAPIER:



He added that he felt like he couldn’t really dribble left-handed.

“I felt like I couldn’t really penetrate as much. I felt like if I did, I was going to turn the ball over.”

(on UConn’s bad first half)

“It was a noon start. A lot of guys are still sleepwalking. We just came out with a better effort. We understood we were down 13 points and we had to get the lead back.”

OMAR CALHOUN, on where he is at this point of his freshman season:
“I think I’m doing so-so, up and down. I feel like I’m getting better. I’ve had a decent last two games, I’ve just got to keep progressing and getting better. I can do a lot on the court, but right now, I’m trying to feel my way out, because I’ve got two guards that slash and attack the rim. I’ve got to space out for them. I don’t nearly drive as much because they drive. I space the floor out for them. I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team win.”

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