HARTFORD – Some notes, quotes, thoughts following UConn’s loss to Stanford.
Have to admit, I had an inkling about this game, this opponent. Though Stanford did not have a win against a big-time team, they seemed to be playing well, and it looked like a tough matchup for UConn.
Still, the Huskies had this one under control. This time, they let too dangerous an opponent hang around and DeAndre Daniels, using an expression his roommate, Ryan Boatright often uses, summed it up. “It finally bit us in the butt.”
UConn attacked Stanford’s zone the way it had been attacking zones in the first half, and the Huskies hit 14 of 29 from the floor, 6 of 10 on threes. The second half was an unmitigated disaster. The Huskies were 5 for 31 in the second half, and, well, Barry Hinson’s wife could go 5 for 31. (In case you missed the reference.)
Stanford was able to do what other teams have not – keep UConn out of the paint, and still get back out to contest threes just enough.
“Did they miss some open looks? Absolutely,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. “That happens in our game, especially when you apply pressure. We sped them up.” UConn was 0 for 12 on threes in the second half. “We should have been more aggressive and attacked the basket more,” said Daniels, who scored 15.
Here is Kevin Ollie’s take:
“Just a tough loss tonight. I can’t even blame it on the layoff. We came out, we played well, we had a 10-point lead at halftime. Came back in the first three minutes and pushed it to 13 and then, like we’ve been doing, we play in spurts and we let a team back in. Once they smelled that they could play with us, they took it to us. We weren’t tough enough to win t his game, mentally or physically, and I hate to say that.
… My hats off to them, they came in and they needed this win. They didn’t have a staple win the whole season, and this is a Top 10 team, it’s going to be a good resume win for them and a bad loss for us.
… Their zone was effective. We missed all 12 three-point shots. Some of them were 30-footers, contested. They weren’t the three-pointers that we’d been getting. Just wish we had a little better ball movement, better threes, and wish we could have taken it to the rack a little more and got them in foul trouble. We settled tonight, and hopefully we learn from this and when we have a team on the ropes, we keep them on the ropes. We didn’t do that tonight.
…It wasn’t hard to [figure out Stanford’s defense]. We missed shots. We had open shots, and we took some ill-advised threes. It was a simple zone, they did a good job with their length, closing gaps, closing up areas. We never got it to the ‘four hole,’ what we call the middle by the free-throw line. We never got in there and exposed that. It was all ‘settle for jump shots,’ and when you do that and they’re not falling, you start pressing. Stanford has a big zone. It didn’t bother us in the first half. I don’t know if it affected us too much, I think we affected ourselves. We got in our own way.
… I wanted [Shabazz Napier] to go to the basket. With Shabazz, you live with that because he has put us on his back a lot of times. But he could have taken it to the basket a couple of times and he settled for the long three ball. And that wasn’t going in tonight, so you have to make an adjustment as a player, you have to make an adjustment as a coach. We didn’t make that game-winning adjustment.
… We’re going to see when go back to practice on Friday, who talks about handling adversity and who lives it.”
In the battle of former Illinois Mr. Basketball winners, Chasson Randle scored 22 for Stanford, Ryan Boatright had seven for UConn. Lots more to come on our main website, with stories from Paul Doyle and Jeff Jacobs, the box score and more.
Here are some great pics from Cloie Poisson.
Shabazz Napier, as he often does, took everything on himself. “I didn’t run the team t he right way,” he said. When UConn goes up by 10, he said, “I want to make everybody happy, I’ll try to run a play for someone who hasn’t been shooting well. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Hey, nobody can make the big shot all the time, right?
“The only way you learn is from your failures,” Napier said.
Actually, once Stanford took the lead at 44-43, Napier had two baskets, an assist and a steal in about 2 minutes. It looked like he was taking over, as he has done so many times. But then he missed a three, and went ice cold.
UConn had won 54 consecutive games at home against non-conference teams, dating back to a loss to Indiana on Jan. 20, 2007. They had won 13 in a row against Pac-12 opponents.
Stanford did not get a single point from its bench. The Cardinal had an edge in rebounds, but only 43-41. They did have a 15-7 edge during a critical stretch in the second half – again, it’s the timing of the rebounds, not the number. UConn got a lot of big rebounds down the stretch to give itself a chance to win the game.
The Huskies are heading to Seattle Thursday morning. I’ll be flying out there Saturday morning, and hope to catch some of their practice at the arena.