Some notes and quotes from practice …
STORRS – Ryan Boatright was “sick” on Sunday. Not physically ill, although he may have felt it, just regretful over the way he played against Villanova.
“I never want to play like that again,” he said. “I went in and watched the film, I watched every play of that game. Then I had a meeting with coach [Kevin Ollie] and we watched.”
Boatright did not score until the final 50 seconds of the game. He went 2 for 7 from the floor, 0 for 1 from the line and had five turnovers in 31 minutes.
“I hung my head [during the game] and I can’t do that,” he said. “I was having a bad shooting day and then I started making turnovers and I know I can’t do that. I was just making bonehead decisions.”
With Boatright and Shabazz Napier, who had only two points, but shadows of their normal selves, UConn lost. Both need to bounce back against Cincinnati at the XL Center Thursday night. The Bearcats are another team with good, experienced guards, Cashmere Wright, Sean Kilpatrick, JaQuon Parker, so the challenge will be just as great.
“Just effort and attitude,” Ollie said, as for what needs to be different. “Villanova wasn’t the first team that homed in on our guards. … When we’re not shooting, we can’t compound the problem with turnovers.”
Here is the full advance story for the Thursday Courant
Neither Napier nor Boatright got to the line against Villanova. Ollie said they need to “not lead with the ball, but lead with our bodies, so we can get them in foul trouble.”
Here is our capsule look at the UConn-Cincy matchup.
Leon Tolksdorf picked up a little of the scoring slack, coming off the bench to hit a couple of first-half threes.
“He’s made my drive home more interesting,” Ollie said, “that I’m thinking about [how to use] him. That’s his job.”
Moves like that, Ollie says, are made by “feel.” He has his normal substitution patterns, like Niels Giffey and R.J. Evans coming in, but when you see something new or surprising, chances are Ollie just had an in-game hunch.
“If I see something I don’t like,” he said, “someone not giving effort, I’ll take him out. Sometimes, I think we need a spark. I do that by feel.”
UConn fans may remember Kilpatrick, who hit that three-pointer to win the game at Gampel a year ago. Kilpatrick takes a lot of threes, over 200, but has hit 32.9 percent of them.
Cincinnati is going for its 20th win. The Bearcats are plus-6.4 in rebounding, so that will again be a battle for UConn. “Hopefully, we can get Tyler [Olander] in the right spot, get Phil [Nolan] to the right spot,” Ollie said.