NEW YORK – Notes, quotes and thoughts on UConn’s loss to St. John’s.
Once again, this team, for all its flaws, is fun. I mean, down 15, you thought, “okay, they were due for a game like this” and were done. Next thing you know, it’s down to seven, four, tied up. Like the Pittsburgh game.
But that said, you can see where Kevin Ollie is getting tired of having to play catch-up. He benched Shabazz Napier for being late for a team function, but he sat Ryan Boatright for nine minutes in the second half because he didn’t like what he was seeing.
Players like Niels Giffey and DeAndre Daniels, who were still around after the press room interviews were done, said the Huskies have to figure out why they’ve been coming out flat the last two games. “We weren’t talking to each other, playing happy,” Daniels said.
But it should be noted, the Huskies have come out on fire in several games, including at Providence less than a week ago. It has as much to do with the make-up of the team. They don’t have an inside game, they have to settle for too many perimeter shots. And when those don’t fall, you look flat.
Bottom line, the Huskies at 15-6, 5-4, are doing fine with the group they have. A win at Seton Hall on Sunday would put them at 16-6 going into the Syracuse game next week in Hartford, and then that game will have some buzz to it.
Here is the main game story for the Thursday Courant.
Here are some pictures from the game.
Giffey, who started in place of Napier, had 10 rebounds, only the second time this year a Husky reached double digits. Daniels had 10 in a game early on. .
UConn was out-rebounded, but only 43 to 41. Points in the paint were even at 16. Fastbreak points were 5 to 2, UConn. St. John’s quickness took UConn out of its transition game.
Steve Lavin looked rather smart leaving JaKarr Sampson in the game for 12 minutes with four fouls. He said he wants his players to learn how to play with foul trouble, a lesson he said he got from Coach K.
Here is the UConn notebook for the Thursday Courant.
“At this point of the season, you don’t grade victories in the Big East. You’re grateful and chalk it up as a W.”
As for that bizarre sequence when Enosch Wolf and Sampson were both called for flagrant fouls, Wolf said they exchanged elbow and words, “and he didn’t like that.” The refs went back and reviewed the tape and decided to give, as in football, “off-setting penalties.” Both made one or two from the line.