Saturday, December 7, 2013

Remember the Maine. Or ... Don't. Some Notes from UConn's Blowout Win

A little bit off UConn's easy win over Maine Friday night:

*** The Huskies are one of just three teams in the nation (along with Wisconsin and Pitt) to boast a 9-0 record. It hasn't been as perfect as the record might suggest, but it's been a pretty darn good start to the season for UConn.

*** Kentan Facey had his best game as a collegian, with four points and a game-high nine rebounds. Had a nice offensive board, dribble and dunk in the first half.

“Kentan, man, even though he hasn’t been playing a lot, he always practices extremely hard," said Ryan Boatright. "He tries to get every rebound, he does the best he can. He got in the game and it worked for him today. We’re proud of him.”

Facey shook off the notion that the uncertainty surrounding his eligibility during the preseason put him behind the eight-ball at the start.

“I doubt that had anything to do with it. It’s more that I need to learn or adjust to this level, because it’s definitely different from what I’m used to. Other freshmen elsewhere are playing, but for me personally, I have to get used to this level, learn to play the game at this level, and I guess I can go from there.”

*** Omar Calhoun broke out of a shooting slump with 16 points on 5-for-12 shooting (4-for-9 on 3s). Entering the game, Calhoun was just 7-for-31 in his prior five outings.

Asked if Calhoun broke out of the shooting slump by, well, shooting ... a lot ... Kevin Ollie couldn't contain his smile.

“Yeah, he did. That’s how you shoot yourself out of a slump, you’ve got to shoot it. O took two bad shots tonight – two 3’s that he got contested on, and I don’t want to take contested 3’s. But other than that, wide-open shots that we want him to take, because he’s a great shooter.”

*** Niels Giffey had 12 points and six rebounds -- once again, nearly all in the first half.

“If he was a first-half player, he’d be the Player of the Year," said Ollie.

Funny moment when Giffey was talking about the Huskies' 12-game break from games.

“It gives you time to analyze things. I know as soon as the season is really gonna start with the … what’s it called ... AAC (laughter) ...?"

*** Boatright on why the team is shooting so much better this season:

“A lot of guys, I notice a lot of us go back to the gym at night. Last year, there were only a few of us going back and working on our game. Now, it’s hard to even get a rim in there, because everybody’s shooting.”

(on the Huskies' improved offense against the zone):

“Playing against zone so much last year, you had to eventually figure out how to beat it. There was a time last year, we were going in every game knowing they were going zone. We knew teams were going to do that this year, especially considering the backcourt.”

(and on the 12-day break):

“It’s good to get some rest, get our knees and legs back under us, get in the weight room, get a little stronger. For us, playing for KO, it’s always bad when you’ve gotta go 12 days straight practicing, no games.”

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