NEW YORK – Kevin Ollie’s take, plus some notes, quotes and thoughts from UConn’s 78-77 win over Maryland.
First blush – a great win. The fact it wasn’t so easy only made it better, another test of the mettle to win close games. Of course, UConn also got a bit lucky. Maryland had chances and kept missing.
“All our guys stayed together. That’s what it’s about. Shabazz gets in foul trouble. He fouls out and Boatright comes in and runs the team. Terrence comes in and makes a huge layup. Tyler doesn’t even play the first half, and he comes in and makes a big-time three. That’s what a team is all about. We stay together, we fight together. And some things you can’t go over the top or go under, you have to go through. We went through this tonight.”
“I want our guards to be in attack mode. And I told them, our physicality doesn’t have to be in a wrestling match. Our physicality can be our speed. Our physicality can be passing the ball, making hard cuts, and I think they did. They shared the basketball.
“I believe we had four turnovers in the first half, and then ended up with 13, so you see the game kind of changes. If we take care of the basketball and get good shots, we have a lot of weapons. We have a lot of guys who can do different things. What we key on is development and versatility.”
“I told the guys at halftime, if we foul, it’s a mistake. We fouled altogether too much. We have to do a better job adjusting to the new rules and we’ll work on that. We showed America the other side, what can happen if we keep sending a good team like Maryland to the foul line. We let them in our yard, and they played around in our yard.”
It looked like Ollie had settled on a nine-man rotation, with Nolan starting. But when the bigs got into foul trouble, Tyler Olander became the 10th guy. Kentan Facey and Leon Tolksdorf were odd men out this night.
Shabazz Napier on Olander. “I played against Tyler in [AAU] and it’s amazing what he can do, but when he came here he lost that confidence.”
Olander on outside shooting: “That’s what I was recruited for, but the last couple of years I’ve had to play more inside and that’s not really my game, although I have developed it a little bit.”
Ollie was pretty excited about UConn’s rebounding, plus three, against a team that was fifth in the nation last year. UConn did it by team effort; Napier led with seven. Nine of the 10 who played had at least one. And what about UConn’s depth? That’ll be my topic tomorrow for the Sunday Courant.
I spent some time at Yale on Thursday, to prepare a story for Monday in advance of the UConn-Yale game. “This is an opportunity to do something marvelous,” said coach James Jones. “It’s an opportunity for us to get better.”
More to come on that.
Here is Jeff Jacobs’ take on the game.