NEW YORK – With the lateness of the hour, I’m going to do one post-game post with as much as I can
… notes, quotes and thoughts following UConn’s 69-65 loss to NC State.
First of all, not a terrible loss. Is there a good loss? No. But UConn stayed with the Wolfpack right down to the end of the game. Again, you felt like the Huskies got the most from their talent. And as in the Michigan State game, you felt, as you watched the first 1o minutes, that they were very well prepared.
Kevin Ollie’s take: “We are going to go with what we have and our guards are going to be the lead for that. But we are going to need others to step up. We are going to get through this tough time. I like the way the guys battled, they gave it all for me and for this great university. I cannot say enough about these guys in our locker room. Yes, we have some faults like every other team, but we’re going to play tough.”
“I don’t think they out-toughed us.”
“Tyler [Olander]‘s going to have to step up. Omar Calhoun is going to have to step up and he will step up. I told Tyler, ‘your time is going to come. I told Phil Nolan, your time is going to come.’ We’re going to have to do it by committee. … I told Tyler, In trying times, you can’t stop trying.”
“Everyone sees our games and they made a focal point about our offense, our p ick and roll offense. We need those guys to attack, for us to win.”
“Our margin for error is not big, and everybody in this room knows that. But we’re going to play tough.”
Note the new Ollie-ism: “In trying times, you can’t stop trying.” It was a big hit on twitter.
Shabazz Napier scored UConn’s first 10 points, and 15 in the first half, then four in the second half. “We trapped Napier in the ball screen and tried to force him to give the ball up,” said NC State coach Mark Gottfried.
Napier thought the difference was in intensity.
“I feel like I was not as aggressive in the second half as I was in the first half. We did not run our plays with the same intensity. I tell the guys, ‘everyone is going to be up for the first half. In the second half is when you figt yourself to get up., you are already tired. I felt as though I was trying to get a lot of other people going. They got a lot of offensive rebounds in the second half, we had a lot of loose balls. The intensity was not there. For us noty to come out the same was we did in the first half shows we were not ready.”
Ryan Boatright, who scored 18, was down also.
“We lost that game,” he said. “… I missed a lot of layups, a lot of shots I normally make. We missed a lot of shots we normally make. We can control that. And we were still right there at the end. We let it slip away.”
The bright spot for UConn was Enosch Wolf, with the 12 points and nine rebounds. The two best games of his life are against ACC teams, Wake Forest and NC State. “He seems to like the big stage,” Ollie said. “He did a wonderful job, and we’re going to need more of that. He has confidence, he gets to his spots and he knows his limitations, and that’s a great strength for him.”
UConn had a 20 to 17 edge in rebounds in the first half, NC State finished with a 37 to 33 edge. DeAndre Daniels, who had seven points and one rebounds, was really bulled off the board by NC State’s big, beefy front line. That’s going to happen. Niels Giffey had a rough game: no points, no rebounds, fouled out.
R.J. Evans did return and played 19 minutes, roughly his average before the injury. He scored four points, went 2 for 8 from the floor. UConn’s guards scored 46 of 65 points.
Jeff Jacobs spoke with Susan Herbst today and learned she is making one more attempt to get UConn in the Big East Tournament. Here are the details.