New Mexico 66, UConn 60: Notes, Quotes, Thoughts From The Huskies’ First Loss

by Categorized: Enosch Wolf, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, Omar Calhoun, Phil Nolan, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball, Warde Manuel

ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands – It’s 2 a.m. Atlantic Time and we’re back from the locker room with some post-game reaction after UConn’s first loss of the season, 66-60 to New Mexico.

The one stat that sticks out: New Mexico went to the line 21 times and hit all 21. UConn was 7 for 9.

“We didn’t make the plays at the end that we’ve been making,” Kevin Ollie said. “They got to the line, and we didn’t and that was the ballgame right there.”

After Ollie’s first loss, he had a long talk with Jim Calhoun. “He didn’t tell me anything I haven’t heard,” Ollie said.

Shabazz Napier scored 23 points and, again, turned it up when UConn fell behind and almost singlehandedly pulled them up  over the top. But not this time. Here is the main game story for The Courant on Tuesday.

“Shabazz turned it up,” Ollie said, “we need some other guys to contribute. … I don’t want to wait til we’re down 10, don’t want to wait til we’re down nine to start playing.”

UConn was even in rebounding much of the game, but New Mexico pulled ahead down the stretch, a 12 to 4 edge to finish the game. “It’s something we’ve got to continue to work on,” Ollie said. “Tyler, Phil, Enosch, I don’t want those guys to come in and get one rebound, that can’t happen,. Rebounding is how they’re going to help this team.”

New Mexico coach Steve Alford, after watching UConn take 45 foul shots against Quinnipiac, was determined that wouldn’t happen and was thrilled that the Huskies got only nine against the Lobos. The plan, see who the Huskies could get to step up besides Boatright and Napier.

“We know those guys are talented guards,” Alford said, “and they score about half their points. We wanted to see who else could do those things. Napier did some nice things, but we did a pretty good job of controlling Boatright, and if you can control one of them it puts a lot of pressure on someone else to step up.”

Omar Calhoun was hot early, but cooled off, and finished with 10. Naper had 23, Boatright 12. UConn did not get much from the bench in this game, outscored 18 to 4 by t he Lobos’ backups.

It has been a long couple of weeks for the Huskies, with  two long  trips, changing time zones and ridiculous late starts.

“I’m just really tired right now,” Napier said. “All the traveling, it takes a toll on your body. Playing with the clock forward, the clock backward, that takes a toll. I’m glad to be getting back  home and getting into a routine, I need that.”

So UConn is 4-1. Most would have considered that an acceptable start. “Through all the traveling and all the miles, we got to this championship game,” Ollie said. “I’m proud of the guys. This would have been a great win for us, we just came up a little short.”

Warde Manuel reached The Islands and had a lot to say about Kevin Ollie’s efforts so far, click here.

What have the Huskies establish so far? What’s their identity? Something I will look at for the Wednesday Courant as I make my way home from the Virgin Islands tomorrow.

Here are some pics from  the night. and finally your box score.


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16 thoughts on “New Mexico 66, UConn 60: Notes, Quotes, Thoughts From The Huskies’ First Loss

  1. Joe Widlansky

    2 things I’ve seen so far. UConn allows the other teams to get way too many open looks from 3 as has been the case the past couple of years. Ollie is going to be a great coach but I was hoping to see more switching defenses. New Mexico drove down the lane at will and some zone could’ve stopped that.

  2. eric

    What happened with CBS sportsnetwork switching to a Florida State Football documentary in the middle of the second half?

    1. Chris

      There was a thunderstorm in the area and they lost the feed for about 15 min.

      1. eric

        I flipped to get the score of the football game and when I came back there was no game so I went to bed and put on the radio only to fall asleep shortly after uconn cut it to one. Thanks Chris

  3. buddy

    None of the current “bigs” has the talent to play at this level. We knew it would be a down year, but the lack of rebounding and poor post play is staggering. The offense has had to revert to the same pattern as the past couple of years. Use the shot clot and have the guards hoist up a desperation shot near the end of the shot clock, or, in frustration take ill advised quick shots. There also seems to be some chemistry issues with the two guards.

    1. Perry Mason

      Completely agree, rebounding is a HUGE problem… what can you do when the other team is getting 3-4 chances every time they go down the court because of offensive boards? This is the most important area in which we need to see improvement.

  4. eric

    I think Nolan will be ok, Wolf shows moments but has almost no experience

    Olander is just awful and Daniels wants to stand outside and jack 3’s.

    Giffey ties for the team lead in rebounds in 14 minutes?! Maybe we need to play him more and Daniels and Olander less until they get it in their heads they are not the designated jump shooters

    1. Mike McManus

      I agree with Eric on several counts. Olander has the bulk and the energy but he was in foul trouble every game. The other bigs are no smaller than the players they competed against but they don’t seem to know how and when to get in position to rebound or to box-out. If they had Giffey’s hustle, they’d all be better rebounders.

  5. RAY RAY



    Can someone please check to see if Travis Knight, Hilton Armstrong, Soulyman (sp?) Wane, Jeff King, Cliff Robinson or Edmund Saunders have any eligibility left because this years front court S-T-I-N-K-S!
    Kevin Ollie will loose his hair and maybe his mind trying to get something out of this bunch. Hang in there Coach.

    1. Sotires

      I remember when Cliff Robinson was being reviled as a horrible player by so-called UConn fans. Cliff played in the NBA for, I believe, 18 years and was an NBA all-star.

      Unfortunately, UConn fans have always been front-runners and then immediately turn on the team when something goes wrong.

  7. dave

    Love the effort anyhow…Bigs will ( have ) to get better..

    On another note: Congrats UConn Admin…nice 7 month contract for Coach Ollie..Outrecruited by PC and Coach Ed Cooley AGAIN ( Brandon Austin )..3rd time a top 100 picks PC over UCONN…REALLY???????????…

  8. michael k

    Wow, Buddy…already determining the bigs are done, huh? “No talent to play at this level”- REALLY? All of you guys who are writing off Uconn’s inside game, rebounding, Olander is “pathetic” etc.- it’s sad you’re so negative and are mailing it in already. At least Perry Mason has enough optimism to say “we need some improvement.” I agree, and am hopeful we will see this team which has gotten off to a pretty good start, get even better.

  9. T-bone

    Wow! Some fans are just pathetic! How can you be down on this team after only one loss that came at the end of a ridiculously long pair of road trips. I was surprised they didn’t run out of gas sooner. I bet none of you could (or did) do any better. I’m sure you could all go out there and get 20 boards in your prime, right?!
    And don’t complain about “taxpayer” money. These guys make millions for the state in return for their scholarships (that nowadays are usually paid by boosters anyway).
    I hope this team keeps their heads up because they should only be proud of themselves. This will be a great season despite their having to pay for the sins of the past.
    Good luck men and good luck coaches. Most of us will be cheering you on all the way.

    1. TZTorotno

      You’re right. We have to look at this season as a whole. Success won’t be measured by how far the team goes in the NCAA tournament because there is no tournament. So it’s wins, losses, and how the team plays. Period. Along the way, there will be ups and downs (W vs. MSU, L vs. UNM), but the record and the way the team plays against the better teams on the schedule will say a lot about where the program is going. Ollie looks to be a good choice for a long-term contract, at least at this point. The players need to keep in mind that their future (i.e., next season) depends to a large degree on what they do this season. Poor play will mean no KO next season. Good play, even with losses, will mean that KO sticks around and recruits top players in future years.

      1. UCONNFB

        What is pathetic is making excuses for the players UCONN puts on the court at the Center and Forward positions. There is nothing there. Olander has 5 fouls, 3 points and ZERO rebounds vs NM. Say it again ZERO rebounds. Wolf, Torkelson, Nolan have shown nothing. Against BE teams these guys will be dominated every night. Coach Ollie could be John Wooden, Jim Calhoun and Coach K rolled into one and not get anything from this front court.
        Simple exercise, compare UCONN;s front court to every other BE team and see who you would rather have.

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