Friday, November 21, 2014

Amida Brimah throws a block party, Rodney Purvis breaks out, and UConn nabs a victory

It wasn't perfect, but this was definitely UConn's best game of the young season. Came against a good team, in a somewhat hostile environment (Dayton fans probably outnumbered UConn fans by about two-to-one).

Ryan Boatright continues to be a leader and scored 20 points (but had the audacity to miss his first two free throws of the season). Rodney Purvis officially became a Husky, with 19 points in a terrific performance. Daniel Hamilton was strong again, with 14 points.

Amida Brimah finished with just six points and as many rebounds as fouls (three). But he had five blocks, three of them on one head-spinning sequence that absolutely changed the entire complexion of the game.

Some notes, quotes and video:


“I was very proud of my team. They focused and played very hard in the second half. To hold a great team like Dayton to 23 points and 28 percent shooting, it shows the focus that they have.”

(on Brimah getting into foul trouble)

“Sometimes on those drives, he tries to block everything. Sometimes, with those little guys, he needs to just stay vertical and let them shoot over him. Sometimes when he gets in trouble, he comes down and gets those cheap fouls. But he’s understanding to get use his length. I thought he did an amazing job the second half controlling the paint. We call the paint the ‘yard.’ He was a dominant force in the ‘yard.’”

(on whether the offense slows down when Boatright isn't in the game)

“I wouldn’t say that. Ryan’s got to sit down. Terrence comes in, and we’re just missing shots, and then we’re not getting back on defense. If we can get stops, we’ll keep the lead. I know good offense translates to good defense, but I think we have to come off the bench and be aggressive, understand what I want to do as a coach.”


(on Brimah's block party)

(on snapping a streak of 18 straight free throws to start this season)

“I know, man. I couldn’t believe I missed those two free throws! I hate missing free throws. It’s basketball, it happens. I just had to make the next one. I’m trying to shoot in the 90-percent range this year.”

“I shoot a lot of free throws when I go back to the gym every night. I make 10 in a row every day before I leave practice. Some days, I knock them out real quick. Some days, I’ll be there for about 20 minutes. I’ve got to hit 10 in a row before I leave, though.”

(on Purvis)

“I’ve been standing on him since preseason. He’s been a little down, he hasn’t been playing well. He’s been second-guessing his shot. I tell him, ‘You’re All-American, man. I can’t do it all myself, they’re gonna double me sometimes, I’m gonna need you to step up.’”

(on whether he sees the offense sputtering when he's on the bench)

“A little bit, at times. I think it’s just from K.O. with these NBA sets, and I don’t think they’ve run those type of sets in those situations, well enough yet. It’s loud, some people can’t hear. I think it just comes with maturity and my veteran (status). Terrence will get it. He’s trying his best, but it takes time.”

(on his de-commitment from West Virginia -- which is also in this tournament -- four years ago)

“No regrets, I don’t think about it at all. I’m glad I came to UConn. UConn made me the person that I am today. I became a man at Connecticut. All the respect to Coach Harris and Coach Huggins. I’ll shake their hand when I see them, but once we step between the lines, it’s all business.”


“When I get into foul trouble, like in the first half, I always get a little bit worried. In the second half, I’m very comfortable and ready to play defense.”

Boatright interjected, regarding Brimah's foul troubles:

“That’s our fault, though. We’d be getting beat off the dribble too much, and he’d be trying to save us and getting into foul trouble. That’s our fault, we’ve got to help him out there.”


(on staying positive through some early-season struggles)

“I thank Boat for that, he just stayed on me. So did all my teammates. He just told me to stay patient and everything was going to come. I never try to force anything. I’m just happy to be on this team, and happy we got this win today.”

And now, it's on to West Virginia and old friend Bob Huggins, for the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tourney title on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2.

Here's what Huggy Bear had to say about UConn on Friday after his team's win over Boston College:

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