Category Archives: Kentan Facey

On To The Garden To ‘Take Care Of Business;’ Wrapping Things Up In Buffalo

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, DeAndre Daniels, Jim Calhoun, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, Lasan Kromah, NCAA, Niels Giffey, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Terrence Samuel, UConn men's basketball
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BUFFALO, N.Y. – Snowing like a son-of-a-gun as we pull out of town on the Amtrak early Sunday morning.

 It’s a good time to be getting out of Buffalo.

It’s especially a good time if you’re the Huskies, who came, saw, survived and advanced to New York.

“We call The Garden our second home,” Ryan Boatright said, “because when we go there, we take care of  business.”

The business will be difficult, no matter who UConn finds in the Sweet 16, but there will be plenty of time to talk about that. Right now, they can bask in the glow of a job well done.

The 77-65 win over Villanova was a truly impressive performance in every way. UConn’s defense kept the Wildcats tossing up three pointers, and the offense got it done. Shabazz Napier, despite the foul trouble, was 9-for-13 and scored 25 points in 25 minutes. “Napier was just awesome,” Jay Wright said.

The 16-1 run while Napier was on the bench was as impressive as anything the Huskies have done all year, and the rebounding and ball-hawking were outstanding, after a tentative first few minutes.

Villanova, on the other side, really turned out to be a paper tiger. If the old Big East were intact they would not have had anywhere near the 29-4 record they did, or the seed they got.  UConn outplayed them, outscored them  68-46 over the last 30 minutes or so.

Due to the lateness of the game, your newspaper has our first version of the game story, with no quotes. The final version went online about 2 a.m. – here it is.

Now, on to Kevin Ollie at the podium.

“Great game by our guys.  They showed some resiliency.  They showed toughness, and they just played with a will. When Shabazz went out, guys stepped up, and that’s what a team is all about.  Then in the second half, he scored 21 points for us. But everybody was strong.  Everybody rebounded the basketball, and we just played together.  It was a gutty win. We’re going to the Garden.  We just love to plant seeds.  We’re going to keep planting seeds there.  We’re going to keep playing together and keep caring for each other.”

“I’ve seen a lot.  I’ve seen us being great for three.  When we called great for three, it’s not enough to go two slots.  We have to go the third slot.  They was penetrating and going out and getting easy threes.  So we wanted to run them off the three?point line.
“I think when Shabazz got his foul, his second foul, we started really turning up the defense another notch with him on the bench.  It’s nothing against Shabazz, it was just we got to take this moment.  The game is right now.
I think once they took Shabazz out on this last play and he hit three and was up nine, we went on a 16?1 run.  It was just a great run by us with our leader on the bench.  But that just shows you what kind of team we’re made out of.
“Everybody talks about we’re not deep, we’re not this, we’re not that, but we’ve got heart.  Every guy that comes in on the court, they stay positive, and they stay productive.
I’m going to keep saying the same thing.  That’s what our guys do.  That’s how we’re built.  We’re UConn made.  We’re UConn made through and through.  And every day we come out there and play with that toughness and play with that heart.”

 

“[Napier’s] just tough?minded.  A lot of things he’s been through in life made him that way.  His mother Carmen is one of the toughest ladies around, and he’ll be the first to say that, how he was raised and what she had to do to keep their home together, and I think he gets that toughness from her.
“He goes out there and plays.  I told you on many occasions he does whatever we need to win.  If that’s scoring a scoop shot, that’s being my unpaid coach for 12 minutes, you know, that’s what he does.”

“We’ve been telling Terrence [Samuel] and all of our guys, you’ve got to recover quickly.  For me, I’ve got to be positive over there because they’re looking at me, and I have to have the right body language when he makes a mistake. That’s what I try to do with Terrence.  He’s going to be a great player for us.  He’s maturing right now.  Like I told him, once he stepped on the free?throw line the last game, he’s not no freshman no more.  You’re all sophomores.  This is the big stage, and they’re stepping up and playing wonderful basketball.”
“Things you don’t see.  I keep telling you.  They work hard in practice.  Kentan [Facey's] working hard.  You don’t see it, but he’s working hard.  All our guys have that passion and that want to get better.  We tell our guys, every time you step on the court, Try to do something better.
Terrence is maturing, and he’s a great competitor, but he’s also a great teammate.  He’s going to be a great basketball player for us and a great student?athlete for the University of Connecticut.”

“I just explain, we plant seeds.  We plant seeds every day in practice.  Sometimes you’re not going to see them growing the first day or first two days, but sooner or later, they’re going to grow.  That’s what they do each and every day.”
“Lasan [Kromah] has been working hard.  He does different things for us to win.  You know, against Saint Joe’s, he played tremendous defense on Galloway that last possession.  We just want our guys to be solid, just continue to play their role, be solid, and just contribute in so many different ways.”
“You don’t have to be a great player all the time, but you can always be a great teammate.  That’s what we try to strive for all our guys to be great teammates on and off the basketball court.”

“[When Shabazz went out], I just believed in my team.  I’m hurting for him because I don’t want him coming out of the game.  But like they just said, we’ve been hurting a lot, but we stayed here.  We’re hurting, but we’re still here.  That’s our motto.  We’re going to be here.  We’re going to stand up.  We’re going to say I’m present.
If Shabazz is on the bench, we’ve got to keep going forward for him, and we got to uphold each other.  I think that’s what we did.  Then Shabazz got back in.  I knew he’s a tough player.  He’s going to get back in there, and that’s what he did, and he led us to victory. “
“He was just unbelievable that second half.  You know, 21 points, crucial threes, dagger threes.  You know, it looked like he was 30 feet out and just making them with all the utmost confidence in the world.  Great game by him.
But it was a great thing, when he’s on the bench, our other players can step up and provide a great spark for us.”

“I just want to keep riding Uncle Mo.  That’s the momentum.  Wherever it takes us, it’s going to take us.
We got to stay together as a team.  We can’t get drunk off success.  We got to make sure we understand we go back to work on Monday.  Give the kids the day off and then go back to work.  We see who we’re playing, and we’ve got to prepare.  That’s what we need to do, and whatever happens is going to happen.
We’re going to write our own story.  We’re not going to let anybody write it for us.  We’re going to continue to learn and grow and appreciate this journey that we’re on.”

****

Here is Jeff Jacobs take on the game, and pics from Steve Dunn.

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Some player quotes, from the podium and the locker room, which was fun to work at 1 a.m..

From Shabazz Napier

On his injury:   I was trying to get open for the ball, and I think it was Hilliard was playing me aggressively.  I just tried to make a move, and he kind of kicked me or kneed me in my shin area.  The pain was just excruciating.  I couldn’t really put pressure on it.
Continue reading

UConn Vs. Villanova, Kevin Ollie, Jim Calhoun, Notes and Quotes From First Niagara Center

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, Big East, DeAndre Daniels, Jeremy Lamb, Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, Kemba Walker, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, Larry Brown, NCAA, Niels Giffey, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Terrence Samuel, UConn men's basketball, Warde Manuel
Date:

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Let’s start with the “news of the day.”

Is Jim Calhoun going to coach Boston College? I don’t believe so. Will he coach somewhere? I wouldn’t bet against that, would you?

It is hard to imagine Calhoun severing his ties with UConn, a school that named a street after him. He has the run of the place, and can do what almost anything he wants. … Almost.

Let’s face it: every great coach misses it after retirement, and many come back. Sometimes it’s a mistake, but it happens. Where do we start? Vince Lombardi came back after a year to coach the Redskins. Bill Parcells came back multiple times. Red Holzman came back. Earl Weaver, Jim Leyland. You think  there’s a chance Phil Jackson, whatever his title, will end up on the Knicks bench? This list goes on and on. Bill Snyder. Bud Wilkinson. Dick Vermeil.

As he neared 70, Joe Torre flirted with retirement each year but would always say, “I don’t want to miss out on any fun,” and he’d come back. Jim Boeheim expressed similar sentiments today, that he won’t retire until he is sure he is ready, because every coach he has talked to misses it.

The attention Larry Brown has gotten at SMU clearly intrigues Jim Calhoun, and it could also intrigue a school out there, one that needs to be put on the map. A school like that would love to have Calhoun for however long they could get him, and gladly take whoever he’d want as a designated successor.

I’m not saying this is going to happen, I’m saying don’t be shocked if it done, because this type of comeback has happened a hundred times before. When coaching is in the blood for 40 years, it never completely gets out. And Calhoun is tanned and rested.

Here is my story on it for the Saturday Courant, and Jeff Jacobs’ take on it.

                                                                                   *****

Shabazz Napier said if Calhoun does come back, he’d apply for a job as one of his assistants some day. He was joking, but Kevin Ollie was serious when he said Napier could be a coach one day. Then he said he would fight Calhoun for his services.                                        ********

Ollie was exceptionally good on the podium today – relaxed, funny, charming.Here’s more from his press session, as we shift the focus back to UConn-Villanova and the NCAA Tournament:

“[Villanova’s] a great, amazing three?point shooting team.  I think they’ve taken probably, I think, top ten in three?point attempts.  I think they’re in the top five of made three?point field goal shooting teams.
So we’re going to have our work cut out for us.  We’ve got to run them off the three?point line.  We’ve got to play Pinkston down low.  He’s a great player also.  That’s what gives them their balance, and that’s what makes them tough to guard. Jay [Wright] does a wonderful job exploiting matchups.  So we’re going to have to be able to be matched up and play our type of basketball and just play with energy and passion.  Hopefully, we can come out with the win tomorrow night.”

“I don’t care who we’re playing. We want to get to the next round.  It’s great to see Jay [Wright].  It’s great to see a foe that we’ve had so many battles against.  Villanova’s a great team.  We’re going to go out there and play.
But we’re worried about and concerned about UConn and our keys to the Continue reading

UConn 51, Cincinnati 45: Wrapping Things Up At XL

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, AP Top 25, Big East, DeAndre Daniels, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, NCAA, Niels Giffey, Phil Nolan, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Terrence Samuel, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
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HARTFORD  – Grrrrrrr. As in grind, grit, gutting it out. All those G-words applied to UConn’s win over Cincinnati, a physical game, a guy thing. The Huskies have proven their mental toughness, here they showed mental and physical toughness (for the most part).

I’m not into style points or worrying about who plays how many minutes or the various stats at this time of year. You just need to put wins in the bank, and especially against a ranked, first-place team like Cincy, the Huskies need to win any which way they could.

They got it done. They’re 23-6. You know, things just aren’t that bad. Here’s the game story for the Sunday Courant.

 Raspy voice and all, here is the full 10 minutes of Kevin Ollie, unplugged:

“Great game by us, not offensively, but defensively, which is what we hang our hats on. I told the guys, there are going to be droughts in the game, but you can’t have droughts on defense in your energy or effort. If you watched the game, there were no let-ups.

… I pretty much told them it was going to be 90 percent punches and 10 percent plays. There weren’t going to be a lot of X’s and O’s, there were going to be a lot of punches Continue reading

UConn 68, Temple 55: Wrapping Thing Up In Philadelphia

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, Larry Brown, Omar Calhoun, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball
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PHILADELPHIA – This was a tough one to digest. Those 9 p.m. starts are just bad for everybody …  Players, naturally, were hungry in the late afternoon and early evening and made some bad choices.

Shabazz Napier walked across the street from the team hotel and got chicken wings, Ryan Boatright got a cheese steak sandwich with peppers and the rich, spicy food didn’t sit well come game time.

“I was so stupid,” Napier said. “It was the worst decision I ever made in my life. My stomach and my chest were burning, and I was so winded. A lot of my shots were short shots and I knew that was the reason why.”

Just for reference, folks. Don’t take this too seriously. It’s part of Napier’s personality, kind of a running thing, he’s always kind of playfully complaining about an ache or pain as a lot of athletes do. It was just pretty funny, so we have a little fun with it.

As I pointed out in the main game story for the Friday Courant, conference wins on the road are supposed to be hard to come by, and they are in  the AAC. UConn really had to grind this one out against a team with a bad record, like the one at Rutgers and to a lesser degree the game at UCF. “We’ve got a veteran team with a lot of leaders on the floor that know how to grind out games like this,” Boatright said. “It was an ugly win.”

Here is Kevin Ollie’s take:

Good game by us. Offensively it wasn’t our best game, but defensively we locked down and that’s where we hang our hat. When we’re not having one of our  better offensive games we want to get stops. For long stretches we held them without scoring, and that’s what gave us the lead and we finally finished at the free throw line.

‘Bazz was great at getting to the free throw line. It wasn’t a particularly good shooting Continue reading

UConn 83, South Florida 40: Wrapping Things Up From XL

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, Omar Calhoun, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Terrence Samuel, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
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HARTFORD – Okay, well there’s just not much to say about this game. UConn dominated it in every way, inside and out, start to finish.

It’s what UConn is supposed to do with opponents like South Florida, which was missing its best player, Anthony Collins, but, of course, it doesn’t always work that way. If any win is a good win, any blowout is certainly a good blowout – especially in February. This saved some wear and tear on Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright.

So this one’s in the books. Memphis next.

Kevin Ollie’s take:

First, I want to give my condolences to the Hurley family. Doc Hurley was a great man. My wife [Stephanie, a nurse] was taking care of him over at St. Francis and he was supposed to come to the Memphis game [Saturday]. One of his requests was to get a new Husky sweatshirt with the new logo on it. I didn’t a chance to give him that.  “I’m going to miss him a lot, miss seeing him coming out of that tunnel and seeing him at all the games. He’s a great man and he will be missed.”

 

It was a great game. We came out and established ourselves early. Amida (Brimah) had two blocks and five points in the first two minutes and a couple of great passes. And we just kept it rolling. We packed the paint in. Everybody who stepped on the court got a basket. We had 24 assists on 28 made field goals. That’s amazing. And we out-rebounded them again.

I thought our defense has been great the last four games. I think we’ve been holding guys to a combined 33 percent. We’ve just got to keep this up….I want to keep this momentum going. I want to make sure we play defense. I just tell the guys to bring their locks. That’s kind of our motto right now. We want to be on lockdown defense. Hopefully guys are buying in. I’ve seen how it has transferred in practice over to the games. They’re following the game plan and details, and that’s what I love to see.

It’s a collective group effort. When we play defense we want 10 eyes on the ball handler, we wanted to load up, to pack the paint. And we wanted them to shoot threes. We didn’t want to give them layups. They just stayed to the game plan, and that’s what we try to do and I’m real proud of my guys.”

I enjoyed seeing Terrence [Samuel] out there running the show. Coach [Glen] Miller has been doing a great job with our big guys, getting them where they’re doing the same Continue reading

UConn 80, Houston 43: Wrapping Things Up at Gampel

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, AP Top 25, DeAndre Daniels, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, Niels Giffey, Omar Calhoun, Phil Nolan, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball, Uncategorized
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STORRS – Tell you what, these 9 p.m. starts take years off a old newspaper guy’s life, but, hey, that’s my problem … Here are some notes, quotes, thoughts in the wake of UConn’s 80-43 win over Houston.

Kevin Ollie and the players said it wasn’t a “revenge” game. But it was certainly a “statement game.” UConn came out with fire in its eyes and just kept pouring it on. Actually, going back to New Year’s Eve, when Houston fell behind by 21 and lost by four, the Huskies have outscored the Cougars by 54 points  over a span of about 65 minutes.

In this game, UConn could have gone scoreless in the second half and still won by eight. That’s really all you need to know, but we’ll tell you more …

Rebounding. UConn had a 55-40 edge. It’s their most ever under Ollie, and they had 19 offensive rebounds. They have outrebounded six of their last seven opponents, and they are 11-0 when outrebounding.

The Huskies young bigs, Amida Brimah, Phil Nolan and Kentan Facey, look like different players than a few weeks ago. Shabazz Napier gave his fellow senior, Tyler Olander, a shout out:

“… Big  guys usually progress slower. But one of the reason the big guys have been progressing faster, of course t here’s the coaches, but Tyler Olander has been doing a great job. He understands his role. He’s not going to be the guy who is disappointed and sits back because he’s not playing. He’s a senior, he started the national championship game as a freshman, but he’s not that type of person. He wants to push them. He pushes them in practice and during the game he’ll talk to them and let them know certain things, aspects of the game they might not know. Phil played well, Amida played well, Kentan came in and played well, it shows you how much work they’re putting in on their craft.”

Napier, by the way, is going back to Charlestown High, where they are retiring a jersey for him. He began his high school career there. He passed Jeff Adrien for 14th place in scoring in UConn  history, getting his total to 1,614.

Kevin Ollie’s take:

“This was a great game by us. A team effort. We came out and we played right out of the gate. I thought the key was,  the ace of spades for me, was TaShawn Thomas. And to hold him to four points and six rebounds, that’s just a great job by Amida, and then Phil came in and gave us a lift on the offensive and defensive end. I thought it was just a complete game by us.

Everybody stepped up in DeAndre’s absence and I’m just very, very proud of this team. Now we’ve got a week off and we’re going to go down to play the best team in the American Conference, Cincinnati.

We’re on our way. We’re trending the right way, rebounding, defense, everything is Continue reading

DeAndre Daniels Will Sit. … Setting Things Up for UConn vs. Houston

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, DeAndre Daniels, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, Lasan Kromah, Leon Tolksdorf, Niels Giffey, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Terrence Samuel, UConn men's basketball
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STORRS – Barring a Willis Reed-like entry, DeAndre Daniels can be ruled out of the UConn-Houston game.

Daniels did not participate in the Huskies’ 4 p.m. shoot-around, and was wearing a walking boot and ice on his high right ankle sprain. Kevin Ollie said on Wednesday that he would probably sit Daniels out if he did not participate in the shoot-around, so there’s that.

The focus is on getting him ready for Cincinnati on Feb. 6.

With Daniels out, we’re looking at a starting lineup of Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, Lasan Kromah, Amida Brimah and Niels Giffey.

We set the scene at Gampel about 90 minutes before the game, as Terrence Samuel, Leon Tolksdorf, Kentan Facey and Pat Lenehan are out on the court shooting.

The Knicks, Celtics, Wizards, Thunder, Mavericks and Spurs had seats reserved for scouts at Gampel on Thursday night. They’re probably looking at TaShawn Thomas, as well as the UConn guards.

Your referees for tonight: Ted Valentine, Jeff Clark, John Gaffney. You may recalled Valentine worked the Louisville game on Jan. 18, in which Kevin Ollie was ejected.

The game is not sold out, but chances are, with walk-up sales, there will be more than 9,000 when all is said and done.

If Cincinnati beats Louisville tonight, the Bearcats may be uncatchable in the American Athletic Conference.

We’ll have more throughout the night here, on our main website and onhttps://twitter.com/AmoreCourant

DeAndre Daniels Status Still Up In Air; Notes, Quotes From Wednesday Practice

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, DeAndre Daniels, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, Lasan Kromah, Niels Giffey, Omar Calhoun, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
Date:

STORRS – Some notes, quotes and thoughts from the Huskies’ post-practice interviews on Wednesday …

DeAndre Daniels’ availability for UConn’s game against Houston is still up in the air. Coach Kevin Ollie said Daniels was “probable for the next game,” by which he apparently meant at Cincinnati on Feb. 6.

As for Houston on Thursday night, Daniels was to be re-evaluated when the Huskies came out for shoot-around at about 4 p.m. “If we hold him out of the shoot-around we’ll probably sit him out,” Ollie said.

Daniels sustained a high ankle sprain, the right ankle, when he fell over teammate Ryan Boatright at Rutgers. He came back and gutted out a few minutes in the second half, after the medical staff taped up the leg.

But he has not practiced since. Injuries like this do tend to swell up and get sore the second day. If Daniels cannot move around well, there would not be a lot of sense in sending him out against Houston’s TaShawn Thomas, who would be a bear of a defensive assignment.

Without Daniels, the Huskies will be playing it “by committee.” Amida Brimah, Phil Nolan, Tyler Olander, Kentan Facey all get a shot.

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Ollie had encouraging words for Omar Calhoun, who missed last game with a sprained left ankle but is expected to play Thursday.

“He has been working his butt off, and that’s what I’m most proud of,” Ollie said. “He’s going to get another great opportunity to get out of his slump. He’s been coming to practice each and every day, practicing full speed, level five, and that’s why I think there’s going to be a breakthrough real soon.”

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UConn worked on transition defense this week; the Cougars killed them on the fast break on New Year’s Eve. Niels Giffey and Lasan Kromah both noted the Huskies had too many players crashing the boards, not enough getting back on defense that night. They want to get Houston in a halfcourt game if they can. L.J. Rose and Danuel House, both of whom missed the last game, will be back for Houston. House scored 22 against SMU, a Cougars loss.

Ollie on Shabazz Napier’s recent scoring binge:

“He’s taking it to the rim. He’s getting to free throw line. He’s in attack mode. I can isolate Continue reading

UConn 84, UCF 61: Wrapping Things Up From Gampel

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, Lasan Kromah, Niels Giffey, Omar Calhoun, Phil Nolan, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball
Date:

 

STORRS – A few notes, quotes and thoughts from UConn’s convincing win over UCF …

First blush: I think this was the best, or most complete game the Huskies have played this season. They got production from all five positions, especially the center spot. They were able to score in a variety of different ways. They played great defense. And, oh, yes, the rebounding. Wow.

“I thought they played much harder tonight as a team,” UCF coach Donnie Jones said. “Not just because they beat us, but I think this is the best I’ve seen them play in four games.”

In other words Jones, looking at tape of the Huskies last four games, was surprised by what he saw up close. The Huskies may have found the right pitch for this conference now.

“I wouldn’t say it was a complete game,” Shabazz Napier said, “but it was close.”

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Kevin Ollie’s take

It was a great game. Just to see that rebound stat, us having 50 and UCF having 34, and knowing that they’re the best rebounding team in the American Conference. Holding them to that number, it was a great effort from our guys. I’m very proud of them. Now we’ve just got to keep building on it.

… They had the ace of spades with [Isaiah] Sykes. We wanted to take him out of the game. And then we didn’t want [Kasey] Wilson to affect the game at the three-point line. I think we accomplished both of those. They both got their points, but they didn’t establish a rhythm. That’s what we didn’t want them to do.They did a tremendous job, Lasan [Kromah] and Niels [Giffey] and Shabazz – everybody got a chance to be on Sykes. And Amida, they tried to get him in a lot of pick and roll situations and later in t he game he got better, having Sykes come to him and staying vertical.

… They threw that zone at us a little bit. It kind of got us off our rhythm. Once we started establishing the four-hole, we got out of that. And that just really allowed us to pick it up even more on defense when we started getting some shots to go in.

Everybody was unselfish, and everybody played hard and played smart.  And when we had a chance to knock a team out, we knocked them out. We didn’t let them back off the ropes and into the middle of the ring again. We knocked them out. And that’s what we want to continue to do when we have teams on the ropes.

… Amida just had a terrific game….I can’t ask for anything else. And then Phil [Nolan] came in and played a great game. And that’s what we’re going to need to have….It’s just Continue reading

Houston 75, UConn 71: Wrapping Things Up In Houston

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, AP Top 25, DeAndre Daniels, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, Omar Calhoun, Phil Nolan, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
Date:

 

 

HOUSTON –  Happy New Year, everyone. Let’s wrap up UConn’s loss to the Cougars with some notes, quotes, thoughts.

Hideous loss, and there is no sugar-coating it. The Huskies played badly, they knew it, they made no excuses. There are coaches who, even in these circumstances, would have talked about the comeback. Kevin Ollie didn’t to that, nor did he cry about the sketchy foul on Tyler Olander than proved decisive. He was straight up, as were  the players who spoke.

“We played terrible,” Ryan Boatright said. “They beat us in every category of the game. The only reason we came back was because we were more talented. We’ve got to get better.”

That says it all … just about. Let’s add that anyone who expected a breeze through the American Athletic Conference can now think again. This conference is filled with programs out of C-USA that are hungry to prove they belong on the big stage, and when a team like UConn comes into their building it’s going to be a big deal to them. So  it had better be a big deal to UConn, too. We were joking about the crowd, but Houston had over 4,000 – some 1,100 more than  they’d been averaging – and the crowd made its presence heard.

SMU, which is a much better team than Houston, has sold out its 7,000-seat arena, which is re-opening with UConn on Saturday. UConn better be ready, and stay ready in this league. It’s not going to be Memphis and Lousville.

I’ll call this the worst loss of the Ollie era, and he was as angry as we’ve seen  him,  equaling the game at Pittsburgh last Janurary. During the game he broke a clipboatd, and after the game laid it out pretty well. Some highlights:

Once again we got down by a big margin. We have to play, We weren’t ready to play and that’s my fault. I’ll try to find some tough guys, but what we’re showing now, we get down and Continue reading