St. John’s 71, UConn 65: Wrapping Things Up From The Garden

by Categorized: Big East, DeAndre Daniels, Kevin Ollie, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball

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.

Here is Kevin Ollie’s take.

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.


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8 thoughts on “St. John’s 71, UConn 65: Wrapping Things Up From The Garden

  1. JD Randle

    Ollie is right on when he says this team has no heart until the chips are down. Olander is a waste to be playing. He has no basketball sense. He is big, slow, and has no clue where to be on the court. Sit him! Wolf, for all his height, couldn’t rebound with no opposition on the court. He too has no bb sense.

    This team has no leadership and that starts with the coaches. Leaving Napier while he pouts through the first halp is a waste of manpower.

    This team will never be a consistent winner as long as this group of Calhoun recruits is around. Maybe, and only maybe Ollie will turn it around with some skilled players who actually have the skills and heart to bring Husky mens BB back to the championship table. I give it five years.

  2. Ray

    Once again Giffey played very hard. If that same effort was given by all it would of been an easy win.

    Coach Ollie is going to have to give him more minutes.

    1. shawn

      I agree. I like giffey. hes the only one that does NOT pout game in and game out and he should be averaging at least 20 minutes a game.

      We have no big man at all. Olander our starting center could not get one shot up?? just one??
      wolf is our best bet. at least he blocks shots.. this is insane we lost this game. insane

  3. buddy

    I think Napiers punishment for a minor violation could have been different. As the team leader, his absence was responsible for the hole that was dug. People complain that he was sulking for the first half, but that is what a young man would do. For those old enough, look at how your own kids respond. Needless to say, I agree with KO that he must somehow get these guys to come out and play at the start. It is better to have a lead and hold it then try to always dig out of a hole. Furthermore, St John’s is not a bad team. What hurts the most is that the opposing teams all seem to have more energy, go after loose balls,and are stronger physically that these guys. I was mostly disappointed watching Daniels watch guys dribble right past him like he was watching the game. Kudos to Giffey for his energy and enthusiasm. Same for Wolf. I would like to know what is going on with Boatright. Something is off. Neither he nor Napier should even think of NBA right now.

    1. Mike McManus

      I agree with your observation that every other team seems to have more energy that UCONN…they move quicker, cut sharply, move the ball around faster, and rebound like there’s no tomorrow. UCONN played like it’s in slow motion as compared to St. Johns There’s still too much dribbling into heavy traffic and both guards don’t see their open team mates in the corners. Neither Boat nor Bazz are NBA-ready at this point in their careers.

  4. ray-ray

    OLANDER should give his scholarship up so we can recruit more talent.BOATRIGHT is getting tuff to watch—not a consistent scorer ,poor passer,no defense and cant dribble.thats probably why WEST VIRGINIA let him go and kept HINDS.GIFFEY and CALHOUN are playing well because they are getting a chance,not playing under JCs “THANK YOU” or “YANK YOU” system has helped them.

  5. Snakely

    You guys are waaaaay to hard on this team. They had their top three front court players and a rising prospect all leave over the summer (along with Lamb in the backcourt), and got virtually no recruits given the cloud they were under. So the guys who were left are having to step up, and Ollie is having to make due. Good on them! They deserve loads of credit for making a decent season out of what should have been a disaster. Olander would not start on most good teams, and yet he is clearly the least bad big man they have. Slow — absolutely, but willing to attack nonetheless. Bazz and Boat are indeed not NBA ready, but they put this team on their backs every night and most of the time lead them to the W column. Given the lack of a front court, they are miracle workers. Calhoun is coming along. Wolf is a project not yet ready for prime time, but has to be pressed into service nonetheless. Giff gets an A for effort, but has NO confidence on offense. Daniels needs time in the weight room, but is doing his best in the paint against much sturdier guys. The point is this team is wildly over-achieving given the talent they have, and UCONN fans should be solidly behind them.

    1. This guy

      I agree Snakely. I’m not one to settle for mediocrity but this UConn team has outplayed my expectations. The only thing I’d like to see is a lineup of Bazz, Boat, Daniels, Tyler, and Wolf. That group hasn’t been on the court at all this year. Think it would improve rebounding and move Daniels and Tyler to their more natural position. I know Ollie doesn’t have the front court depth to keep that lineup out there for long…But I honestly believe that would be our best line up.

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