STORRS – A few thoughts and quotes off UConn’s loss to Louisville.
How bad was the officiating? Rare is a game, in any sport any level any time, that people don’t think the officiating was atrocious. From where I sat, it looked like a terrible “no-call” and I could see Kevin Ollie going ballistic there.
As he said, you can’t lose your composure. But it happens, it’s part of coaching.
And the bottom line, UConn was not winning this game. Louisville, which is getting its act together, overmatched them. Manhandled them. Officiating is what it is.
Ryan Boatright: “I respected it. I’m glad [Ollie] had our backs. He was saying what we all couldn’t say. Some of those calls were ridiculous. That call he got kicked out on was definitely a foul. He stood up for us.”
Brian O’Connell worked the Georgetown-Seton Hall game at D.C. on Saturday and quickly flew to Storrs to work the night game. Tom O’Neill, scheduled to work the game, could not get out of Chicago and O’Connell was called upon. We just pass that along.
“Two unsportsmanlike Class A technical fouls,” referee Mike Stuart told a pool reporter. “The first one was reacting to running down the sideline. The second one was coming on the floor to protest the call.”
Stuart, coincidentally, was on the officiating crew in Milwaukee on Jan. 1, 2013, the night the officials had the teams going the wrong way in OT and took points off the scoreboard.
Montrezl Harrell. Wow. Rick Pitino said he’s worked hard and vastly improved his footwork.
Kevin Ollie’s take
“Our aggressiveness wasn’t there I n the beginning of the game and they figured that out. We settled a lot, with threes. And I thought Ryan Boatright did an excellent job when we got down, starting to go to the rim and not settle. It shows them we’re going to fight, too.
We’ve got to play with emotion. When we got down we started playing a little bit, but we’ve got to start the game with that fire and that passion.
It came down to them outrebounding us by 15. We’ve been doing a good job the last three games of getting those timely rebounds, those 50-50 balls and getting those touches. We didn’t do that tonight, and that was the ball game. … They had 40 points in the paint and that’s way too many. It’s not like they had Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar out there.
DeAndre sitting on the bench hurt our rotation but at the end of the day he played the whole second half. And he’s got to play better.
Montrezl did pretty much what he wanted to do down there. When you get 18 points and 13 rebounds, you pretty much dominated that game.”
“But I’m still proud of these guys, though. We’re going to be fine.”
Rick Pitino said, with the quick turn-around from playing Thursday and UConn’s speed, he decided to play a “soft press” zone defense. He didn’t want to get into a running game with UConn, but keep them in the half court “and confuse them.”
The Huskies had only eight assists, Shabazz Napier had only one. This was partly the result of missed open shots when good passes were made, but the Huskies were definitely forced out of what they like to do.
As for the ejection, Pitino joked, “You never want to see Kevin Ollie …. Now, Jim Calhoun you want to see thrown out.”
Pitino said it was the best atmosphere he’s been in at UConn, and he thought the ejection, after which Wayne Blackshear missed two free throws, got the crowd back in the game and slowed Louisville’s momentum.
Boatright will leave the team, probably Sunday morning, to spend time with his family in Chicago following the shooting death of his cousin, Arin Williams.
“It’s been rough,” he said, “I haven’t had any sleep, little or no sleep, he’s constantly on my mind. But I’ve been trying to focus on basketball as much as I can. It’s been tough for me but I’m not holding that up as an excuse.”
Boatright has played two games since it happened, and for a youngster his age he deserves a lot of credit for handling it the way he has. He’s expected to be back for the game against Temple on Tuesday.
Napier had the career high 30 points. “I put myself in a predicament with fouls and I couldn’t be as aggressive as I should have been playing my guy.”
Napier noted Louisville “didn’t shy away from contact.”
Have to do a pregame notebook for 9 p.m. starts; Sunday Courant leads with Daniel Hamilton, who arrived at halftime.