CINCINNATI – Some highlights of Kevin Ollie’s remarks following UConn’s loss at Cincinnati:
“Tough game, we played hard, played aggressive. I like the fight in our team. We’ve just got to get through this. It’ has been a difficult two games but I can’t question their heart, I can’t question their fight.
“I don’t really want to talk about Shabazz [Napier]. These guys played hard. Shabazz is going to get back, get back healthy . They played hard, we had 18 or 19 turnovers against Georgetown, we had 15 tonight. I mean, the guys played hard, these guys put us in a situation to win. Shabazz is going to get back and he’s going to get back healthy and fight for us, hopefully, over these last two games and if not, everbody’s got to keep stepping up.
“Yes, [Phil Nolan] did step up. That’s what I want to talk about, he stepped up, he played well, got several rebound, played with energy. I had to get on him in the first half, he took the challenge like man and he played very well for us. He’s going to be a great player for us in our program.”
[Nolan] got a hell of a rebound. He couldn’t make free throw, but he isn’t the last guy who is going to miss a free throw, or make a free throw. I wanted him to keep his head up, because I knew we were still going to be in the game. I didn’t want him to get discouraged because that was a big time rebound at the end of the game
[Giffey] dislocated [his right index finger], put it back in place. I don’t know if it’s a break or not, hopefullly he’s ready next game, also. (note, X-Rays showed a fracture.)
On the inbounds play: “They had a big center on it and tried to throw it over the top. We’d been trying to get it over the top most of the game, but he got a hand on it and came up short. Not R.J. [Evan’s] fault, they just had a big guy on it. “They’ been playing us the whole game like that and we’d been getting passes over to Ryan [Boatright] at top of the key Trying to run same play but they got a piece of it.”
“I thought it was goal-tending [on Boatright], they thought it was different. Let’s go on to the next play. I wanted three ponts, I wanted the bucket and one free throw. They saw it other way. So be it.”
[Napier] was a game time decision. We went down there [to the locker room] and he couldn’t play. We were prepared for it, anyway, the last practice without him. The guys that played the game played well. You can’t fill in the slack for Shabazz, he is one the best p layers in the Big East, you’ve got to play your game.
“We just played with heart. I keep telling you, I we play with toughness, play physical, rebound, we’re going to be in the game, and that’s what they did. We’re not the prettiest team in America, we’re not going to make every shot, but we’re going to play defense, play with heart . I don’t care who is out there, a walk-on could be out there, as long as they’re playing with toughness we’re going to be there. That’s who I want to coach, best attitude team in America is in there. So nobody filled in for Shabazz, they just played with heart. That’s what I want to coach.
The comeback was just playing with energy, getting stops, got out on three point line [to defend], Boatright started penetrating, making plays, got on the free throw line 14, 15 times. Great job by him. We had a tough night with Tyler [Olander], Omar didn’t have his stellar game. DeAndre [Daniels] played well, we played good defense. We couldn’t shoot well, they couldn’t shoot well, we had an opportunity at the end of the game, we just didn’t execute.”