Sunday, January 19, 2014

Kevin Ollie Ejected; Ryan Boatright's Status for Temple Game Unsure

Louisville continued its hex in recent years against UConn with a 76-64 victory. OK, where do we start?

Ah yes, Kevin Ollie's first career ejection as head coach (he had earned a technical foul last season at DePaul for leaving the coach's box).

No doubt, Wayne Blackshear should have been called for a foul on Niels Giffey on the play in question. What happened next was pretty intense. Here's the reaction to Ollie's ejection, administered by ref Mike Stuart:

“I just thought it was a foul,” he said. “Niels is a pretty good shooter. He went up and, you know, got hit in the shoulder or the arm. Then, coming back, Shabazz (Napier) does the same thing later on and they didn’t call that foul. It happens, and we’re going to go from there.”

Added Ryan Boatright: “I was glad that he had our back. He fought for us, because some of those calls were ridiculous. The one that he got kicked out for was an obvious foul. It was crazy that they didn’t call it.”

In a statement, Stuart said Ollie was hit with “two unsportsmanlike Class A technical fouls. The first one was reacting to running down the sideline. The second one was coming on the floor to protest the call.”

Ollie admitted he earned the ejection -- sort of.

“I saw the replay, I think I jumped around a little bit, sprinted,” he said. “I don’t know if there was a warning or not, but I thought they gave me the first ‘T’ and I didn’t really have a chance to do anything and then the second one came.”

More Boatright: “He said he let his emotions get the best of him. He apologized for not being there when we needed him on the sideline. We just told him that we appreciated him for having our back, and really saying the things that we really couldn’t say. He showed how frustrated we were in not getting those calls. He’s a coach and he did the right thing.”

Rick Pitino's somewhat odd synopsis: "We were up (nine). I thought (the ejection) hurt us, actually, because we missed our free throws. We had momentum and let the crowd get in the game. Especially Kevin Ollie, you don't ever want to see him get thrown out. Jim Calhoun, you want to see get thrown out. I'm only kidding. Make sure you tell Jim that."

We would, but Calhoun -- perched in his usual seat on the press row baseline in the first half -- left the arena at halftime. No, he didn't join Ollie in the locker room after his ejection. Apparently, Calhoun left early because he's heading out on vacation tomorrow.

*** Bad call (or no-call) or not, UConn hardly deserved to win this game. The Huskies were outrebounded 45-30, with 16 of the Cardinals’ boards of the offensive variety. UConn also was outscored in the paint, 40-20.

“It’s not like they have Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar out there,” Ollie pointed out. “So, we’ve got to do a better job.”

*** DeAndre Daniels, fresh off a 23-point, 11-rebound effort in Thursday’s win at Memphis, picked up his second foul just over six minutes into the game and spent the rest of the first half on the bench. Without him, UConn had great difficulty penetrating Louisville’s active, 2-3 zone. The Huskies were forced into taking half their shots (14) from 3-point land, many of them late in the shot clock. UConn did hit six of them (three by Napier) to stay close and trail by six at the break.

Daniels finished with just three points for the game.

“Him sitting on the bench hurt our rotation,” said Ollie. “But, at the end of the day, he played the second half, and he’s got to play better. You’ve got to respond as a basketball player ... You get two fouls, I would’ve been boiling mad coming out at halftime. I would have got my third or fourth real quick on a charge, or throwing somebody out of the way. Something.”

*** Ollie said that Boatright will be heading back to Chicago on Sunday. It appears the funeral for Boatright's cousin, Arin Williams, is on Tuesday -- the same day UConn hosts Temple. But Boatright said he's not sure what he's going to do yet.

"I'm still contemplating if I want to miss Tuesday's game or not," he said. "I don't know exactly what I'm going to do."

*** The last time a UConn coach was ejected from a game was when Calhoun was booted from a Dec. 7, 2007 game with Northeastern by Wally Rutecki. Afterwards, Calhoun famously called Rutecki "incompetent."

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