Thursday, February 21, 2013

Shabazz Napier: 'I Think the NCAA Tournament is Gonna Be Missing a Great Team'

Some interesting postgame quotes tonight following UConn's latest overtime win, a 73-66 triumph over Cincinnati.  But none more (as usual) than what Shabazz Napier had to say when asked how much he's thinking about possibly going pro after this season (and whether he deserves Big East player of the year consideration)

Napier finished with a game-high 27 points as the Huskies improved to 18-7, 8-5 Big East. The junior guard’s overtime exploits have truly been remarkable this season. In six OT sessions, Napier has scored 46 points on 9-for-14 shooting – including a sizzling 8-for-12 on 3-pointers. He’s also drained 20 of 22 foul shots.

While Napier was the hero again, he wasn’t the only star. DeAndre Daniels overcame an awful first minute (letting Justin Jackson blow by him for a dunk, then dropping an easy pass and getting yanked by Kevin Ollie) and wound up with 17 points and a career high-matching four blocked shots.

“He took it like a man,” Ollie said of his quick hook with the sophomore forward. “That’s what this team is all about. They take it, and they get back in the fight.”

Omar Calhoun, battling a sore right wrist, gutted through with 10 points and a team-high six rebounds. And, although Ryan Boatright suffered through his second straight poor shooting game (3-for-12, nine points), he “grew and matured” by holding Cincy’s Cashmere Wright to 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting, according to Ollie.

“When my shot’s not falling, it’s my job to make sure the man that I’m guarding’s not hitting them, either," Boatright said. "If I’m not gonna hit them, I’m not gonna let you hit them. I failed to do that in the Villanova game, I let my man get too many points … This game, once I saw that I was missing a few shots, on the other end, I took it on myself that he wasn’t going to score.”

Added Ollie: “He had his head down in the last game because he wasn’t shooting the ball well. This game, he picked up and took Cashmere Wright out of the game in the second half. He stepped up and he grew up.”

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