Sunday, November 17, 2013

Kevin Ollie: "If We Rebound the Basketball, I'll Put My Money on Us Every Night"

The good news for UConn: a 77-60 win over BU; a big game (24 points) from a noticeably more aggressive DeAndre Daniels; a solid effort from Ryan Boatright (16 points); and another sterling all-around game from Shabazz Napier, who had 12 points and led the Huskies with 12 rebounds.

The bad news for UConn: Napier led the Huskies with 12 rebounds. In fact, he now leads the team in rebounding this season at 9.5 per game. Next? Boatright (a 6-0 guard) and Niels Giffey, with 3.8 each.

"If we rebound the basketball," Kevin Ollie said, "I'll put my money on us every night. Every night."

The Huskies also let a 19-point first-half lead evaporate and actually trailed, 43-42, about 2 1/2 minutes into the latter half.

“We started off the game pretty well," said Ollie. "Then we kind of took our foot off the gas pedal, which I don’t like to see. Tough team to guard. Their guys can penetrate, they shoot 32 times from the 3-point line. They were going to make some, sooner or later, and that happened in the second half.”

*** Olllie on Daniels' tough start to the season prior to Sunday: “No excuses. He said, ‘Coach, I’m going to stay in this gym, get it done. I’m going to be there for you.’ I appreciate his hard work. A lot of guys on other teams maybe would have come to my office and complain, but I didn’t hear a peep out of him. That’s a good thing.”

The coach was asked if Daniels suffers from lack of confidence at times, and it was point out that Napier has suggested as much in the past.

“That’s Shabazz saying that … People are going to go through slumps. I wanted Shabazz to take a little bit more shots today and be more aggressive. Shabazz wants to protect his teammate, but DeAndre’s got confidence. He went in a little mini-slump. Let’s talk about the last three halves he’s put together. They’ve been pretty damn good.”

*** Niels Giffey finished with a season-low three points. He took just two shots.

“Niels walked by me the other night and said, ‘Coach, they’re not leaving me,'" said Ollie. "I was like, ‘That’s pretty good.’ If you make so many shots, they’re not going to leave you. They’re not going to keep giving you open 3’s. He’s got to adjust, and we’ve got to adjust as a team.”

*** Amida Brimah blocked two quick shots to get the crowd riled up, but played most of the game in foul trouble.

“Gotta play early. You’ve got to get in a defensive stance, move early," Ollie said. "You can’t always depend on the blocked shots, especially when you’re under the rim … All freshmen go through that. That’s good for Amida. He’s going to learn from it, and when he gets to New York, he’ll be ready.”

*** Napier on one of the key plays of the game, a Daniels tomahawk jam off Napier's own offensive rebound and pass. It appeared Napier could have gone back up with the shot, but instead dished to the cutting Daniels.

“I was missing so many shots (3-for-9) that I didn’t feel confident taking that easy layup," Napier said. "I saw DeAndre coming in, he made a great play and dunked it over the guy. I’ll definitely take that over my layup.”

*** Daniels: "I just wanted to stay aggressive the whole time. I played terrible the first two games, I wasn’t able to knock down my shots. I didn’t let that get to me. I was staying aggressive, keep shooting, and I was able to hit some shots tonight.”

(on his first two games this season)

“I played awful, plain and simple. Shot the ball (poorly), didn’t rebound, I was selfish, I wasn’t playing hard because I wasn’t making shots. It was getting to my head and I wasn’t focused on it, just being selfish.”


“My confidence is still there. Make or miss, I’m going to just stay aggressive, keep shooting the ball, and just go from there.”

*** Wallingford’s John Papale, a 6-3 sophomore guard, hit a pair of 3-pointers and finished with six points in 35 minutes for BU. Papale, a former Choate Rosemary Hall star who was the Register’s boys basketball MVP in 2012, had about 25 family and friends in attendance.

“It was a great experience, I was looking forward to it,” said Papale, who had never before played at Gampel. “Obviously, they’re a great team, a great program, so it was very exciting. It was definitely something that I’ll remember for a long time.”

Papale’s first 3-pointer was a big one, just under two minutes into the second half that brought the Terriers to within a point (42-41). After averaging 9.3 points and making the America East all-rookie team last year, Papale is now averaging 7.6 ppg and shooting 27 percent (4-for-15) from 3-point land.

“I thought I could have played better, I missed a lot of open shots,” he said. “But they’re tough to play against. They’re big, they’re long, they’re athletic. Against a team like that, it’s hard to play well. I’m just trying to get better. I’m off to a slow start shooting, but hopefully I’ll get better.”

Papale gets to play even closer to home on Dec. 2 at Quinnipiac, where his brother, Mike, is director of basketball operations.

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