Saturday, January 3, 2015

Kevin Ollie: "They gutted one out for UConn Nation"

Terrific win for UConn. Gotta admit, I didn't see it happening. Not that Florida's so great -- it's certainly not. But not knowing how effective Ryan Boatright was going to be (or if he'd even play at all), then seeing the Huskies down 13 early in the second half and 11 with 11:11 left -- it just didn't seem like it was in the cards.

But, as we all should have learned by now -- never question this team's heart. Especially with a leader like Boatright on the floor.


"We wrote on the board: PTI: Play through it. I think they did that -- with heart, with desire. Got down by 13 and by 11 with 11 minutes to go, and they just dug in. The last eight minutes, we didn’t give up a field goal.”

“The big fella was just controlling the paint. When you have that big fella back there, and he’s not getting in foul trouble and contesting every shot, it really makes it hard from an offensive standpoint.”

“I’m very proud of the guys, because they stepped up in the second half. We made free throws -- all the things that we haven’t been doing in those situations, we did today. I’m proud of the guys.”

(on Boatright)

“I didn’t want to take him out, so it could get stiff. He still gutted it out, missed a couple of shots that he usually makes, gave us a big-time six assists. Then he stepped up to the free throw line and ma

“If I’m gonna go out, I’m gonna go out with my leaders -- from Shabazz, to Kemba, to Ryan. I just have so much trust in those guys, because we’ve been through so much together, all the up’s and down’s. I’m gonna go with my guns, and he’s the biggest gun in my holster.”

“If it wasn’t for Omar (Calhoun) making some shots, when we were down by 11, he made a big 3, made a pump-fake, one dribble step-in, a little floater on the baseline. If he didn’t make those big-time shots and those defensive stops, I don’t know where we would have been at.”

“We needed this win, and they gutted one out for UConn Nation.”

“That defense the last 11 minutes, that was some of the best defense I’ve seen here at UConn.”

(on Brimah)

“Just his presence around the basket. They were getting in our yard in the first half they were driving, driving, driving. Then, Amida started not fouling, not coming down. They were actually looking for Amida, and that throws off a player’s rhythm, when he’s coming to jump-stop and looking for Amida.”

(on free throws)

“I’m not gonna feel sorry for anybody. We lost three games, and it came down to free throws at the end, where we could have put the game away, or made it an overtime game. Our guys are stepping up now. I told them, ‘If you keep putting yourself in those positions, you’re gonna learn how to get through it, play through it, step up and have composure making those free throws.’”

“It’s reaching down in your gut. You’ve got to get stops from your gut and your heart. It’s nothing I can draw up.”

(on Rodney Purvis)

“Some guys are gonna sit on the bench. If you sulk, if you put your head down, then when you get back in the game, you’re not gonna be there mentally. I thought Rodney did a great job staying in the game, staying in the moment. He came in and made some big-time 3’s. Those were some deep 3’s, hit ‘em all net.”


“We never lost faith. We didn’t follow the game plan until the last, like, 11 minutes of the game. It was loud in there, we couldn’t hear the big guys calling out, which defensive play to use. We just grinded it out. We were resilient. We went down (13), we didn’t lose our heads or anything, we just kept our composure.”

“Coach Ollie, the day after the Temple game, he made us shoot a lot of free throws. Let’s just say that -- a whole bunch.”

“Coach Ollie showed us some clips about last year, how we were connected -- Bazz, me, Niels, DeAndre, Boat. We just tried to mimick the same things we watched on the film.”

(on Omar Calhoun)

“He’s real confident, he’s knocking shots down. He’s taking them with no remorse. Either it goes in or it misses. He has good muscle memory. If he misses a shot, he’s like, ‘I’m gonna make the next one.’ He’s coming along.”


“I had to. We just needed a little bit of paint protection. After those blocks, people stopped coming in the paint. That’s what we needed.”

“I had two blocks? What the hell? Damn ... I did not get two blocks. I had, like, two in the first half! That’s crazy.”


“We all know Boat’s competitive, he’s a fighter. He was definitely hurt, but we needed him out there today. He was able to keep pushing through for us.”

“This is a big win ... We brough the intensity in the second half, we were able to fight back and win the game. It’s big.”

(on Amida Brimah)

“I told him, just keep his hands up early on in the game. He was swiping at the ball, trying to get blocks. The best defenders don’t always have to block your shots, but they’re hard to shoot over. He was big for us, down low.”


“It hurts really bad, but it feels way better knowing that we got out of here with a win. I think if we took an ‘L,’ it would have hurt a lot more.”

“Since the day it happened, I’ve been uncomfortable. This is definitely the worst thigh bruise I’ve ever had. I can’t jump. The little jumping I was doing out there really came from emotion and adrenaline. As soon as the game was over, it locked up on me. I think I’m gonna take a picture of the bruise, so y’all can see the bruise. It’s crazy. My leg has never been four or five different colors.”

“Heart, man. I just knew we needed to win. This game, on the road, was a huge game for us. I knew that it could save our season. There was no way I was gonna sit out and let that slip by.”

“This just saved our season, if we take care of business from here on out.”


“I just knew I had to make the impact. We were in a tough situation in the game, and I knew eventually my time would come, so I stayed with it on the bench, cheering for my teammates. Omar really gave us a huge lift off the bench. I just knew, eventually, my name was gonna get called, and I had to come in and make a play.”

“Early on in this season, I would’ve been done. He ... subbed me out that quick because I missed out on a defensive assignment. It’s just a sign of progress I’ve made, just to stay in the game, because I know I can help this team a lot. The main thing, we just stay connected. Everybody just stayed with it. I knew eventually, something good was gonna happen to me.”

(on his go-ahead trey)

“I knew the ball was coming back to me, I just had to have my feet set. I knew once I had my feet set, if I could get it off, I knew I would have a good look at the basket. I just shot it with confidence. I’ve been working on my shot the last three, four weeks -- a whole lot of different shots, things like that, for moments like that. I just try my best to prepare myself for game moments.”

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