HARTFORD – Some notes, quotes and thoughts from UConn’s loss to No.1 Louisville, and the obligatory road map to our coverage.
The Huskies took their lumps tonight, literally and figuratively. Shabazz Napier was really hurting, after hitting the floor hard in the first half and he was beating himself up, as he usually does after a loss.
“I thought I dislocated my [left] shoulder,” he said. “I thought the shoulder was going to pop out at halftime. The trainer told me I pinched something. … That’s not an excuse. I got out there, I didn’t want to miss this game. “
Here is the main game story in the Tuesday Courant.
Napier hit the floor with 16:13 left in the half. He made a couple of shots after that, and had 10 points in the first 7 minutes, then only two thereafter. Louisville’s Peyton Siva, of course, had a lot to do with that.
“Shabazz can’t let anybody take him out of his rhythm,” Kevin Ollie said. “He’s too good a player.”
Here is Ollie’s take on the game.
New Ollie-ism for the day, on rebounding from a tough loss: “You can’t control events, but you can control the meaning of events.”
Like all of them, there’s a strain of fundamental truth to it. UConn is going to lose games this season, and at times it won’t be pretty. Against the No.1 team in the country? Wasn’t supposed to be pretty. That UConn has played so well, as to build expectations for this game, is a good thing. The No.1 goal for UConn this year is to stay relevant, and that they are.
But Louisville was just too good. Gorgiu Dieng, with 16 rebounds, was too much inside, so was Chane Behanan. The guards, even with Siva in foul trouble, were as good as advertised. The XL Center was rocking when UConn went up by 10, but the Cardinals had another geat to which to upshift. UConn couldn’t match it.
Now UConn has to pick up the pieces. There’s half the season left, and plenty of time to reach goal like 18 wins or a 9-9 record in the Big East. As a measuring stick, this showed UConn is far from being the No.1 team in the country, but we all knew that. Not a terrible set-back, IMO.
Here are some great pics from our John Woike at the game.
Great Rick Pitino quote: “Kevin Ollie, I’ll be long dead, but he’s going to be an unbelievable coach.”
Like Rick, but don’t see why he can’t come to the interview room.
Siva put Louisville’s slow start, in part, on the day-of-game travel. Would agree, fly takes a lot out of you.
Pitino and L’Ville are the subject of Jeff Jacobs column for the Tuesday Courant.
A third possible UConn recruit was at the game, joining Amida Brimah, who committed to UConn, and Pascal Chidiebere-Chukwa. … Khadeen Carrington, a 2014 point guard from New York’s Bishop Laughlin, was also at XL. … UConn has a thing with NYC guards, as we know.
Here is your box score.
Some more Shabazz Napier:
“I think in the first half we came out with a game plan; we kind of executed it well. In the second half, we got away from it. I think Louisville played us much better in the second half. We weren’t able to get to the middle of the zone where we were creating our offense most of the time. … We gave up the lead and they just ran with it.
I had to do my best to keep my composure. As a leader, the team is looking at me for a little comfort. I wasn’t able to give them too much.
Both of their guards are so electric and fast. Peyton is so good off the pick-and-roll. He’s kind of hard to guard coming off the pick-and-roll. Russ got open shots for Chane [Behanan]. In the second half, we didn’t play as well as we should have.”
And Omar Calhoun:
“They have a great coach. He did a good job of getting those guys going, coming out strong in the second half. I knew I had to step up today to give us a chance to win.”
“They’re strong and quick. They’re always moving and active. They move like they’re on a string. You always have to be aware and watch what you’re doing playing against them. … We were just struggling. They did a good job defensively, moving and keeping us from getting to different areas we wanted to get to on the court. … [In the second half], they just started going a little harder, moving a little quicker. They definitely picked up the energy. We just weren’t fighting as hard as we should have been.”
Here is the notebook, for the Tuesday Courant.
UConn is now 2-7 vs. No.1-ranked teams in the nation.