Sunday, December 28, 2014

UConn can't quite wing it in blowout win over Central Connecticut

With the seconds winding down in UConn's 81-48 rout of Central Connecticut on Sunday afternoon, the 13,315 at XL Center started booing.

At first, it seemed the crowd was upset that former walk-on-turned-scholarship player Pat Lenehan wasn't going to get a shot off. Perhaps that was part of it, but the bulk of the booing more likely had to do with the fact that the Huskies weren't going to get to the 82-point mark.

Any time UConn scores 82 points in a game, you see, anyone with a ticket stub to the game can get a free order of wings at Buffalo Wild Wings. So, the 13,315 wound up a point short of free wings.

“I’ve never got booed like that, at the end of the game," Kevin Ollie noted. "I didn’t even know about the Buffalo Wild Wings. I’m like, ‘Man, they love Pat this much?’ So, next time, I’ll recognize that. That was on me.”

That's kind of the lead story off an otherwise routine blowout of Howie Dickenman's Blue Devils. Actually, there were others: Kentan Facey's first career triple-double, Omar Calhoun's season-high 11 points (including his first 3-pointer since Jan. 21 against Temple last season), five players in double figures and a 37-5 run between the end of the first half and the beginning of the second that turned it into a rout.

Here's some video, notes and quotes off the game:

*** Ray Allen spoke to the CCSU team in the locker room after the game. Allen, of course, played under Dickenman when Dickenman was Jim Calhoun's assistant at UConn.

"He spoke to the players for about 10 minutes, gave some very good comments and observations," said Dickenman. "Ray has always been one of my favorites, but then he’s everybody’s favorite. Our players applauded him and we thanked him for coming in.”

“You could hear a pin drop when Ray spoke.”

Dickenman shared this story of Allen, during a Jim Calhoun Celebrity Classic game at Mohegan Sun Arena a few years back, when Dickenman was "coaching" Allen's team.

“We’re getting hammered about halfway through the first half. I’m gonna ‘talk to the team,’ OK? And Ray interrupts me. The nerve of him to interrupt the coach. And all he said was, ‘I’m sick and tired of this, we have to go out and fight. We’re not here to lay down.’ It was a very brief but motivational talk, and we went out and played much better. He’s such a competitor that he would take time to say that in the huddle. When Ray speaks, everyone listens.”

*** UConn is now 19-0 against former Calhoun assistants, including 3-0 against Dickenman at CCSU. The Huskies have never lost to the Blue Devils in 13 games.

*** Omar Calhoun:

"I'm starting to get my rhythm back. I'm starting to get healthy. I'm able to be more explosive at the rim, do more off the dribble .. It was definitely tough going through that and then another injury. It's good to have something going positive so I can go forward and keep growing from it ... It was definitely tough, but I'm a strong individual. I talked to Coach all the time and he said just work through it. He has my back. So as I keep working and getting healthier and healthier, it will be better every day."

*** Ryan Boatright apparently thought the boos at the end of the game were about Lenehan, as well, and didn't know about the Buffalo Wild Wings.

“I keep telling Pat, man, just shoot the ball! He’s such a good person and a good teammate. When K.O. says don’t jack the ball, he’s not gonna jack it. But when you get in with a minute left, you only have two possessions, probably -- just shoot the ball. It’s your senior year, he’s gonna put you in the next game, you know what I mean? But Pat is Pat, he’s not gonna take ill-advised shots.”

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