Some notes, quotes and thoughts from UConn’s 100-62 win over UMass-Lowell …
Just as you couldn’t draw conclusions on Thursday, you shouldn’t draw them here. These are exhibition games. UMass-Lowell, on paper, is expected to be a better team than AIC. What was clear was that the Huskies played with more enthusiasm, were looser, seemed to execute their plan better and gained confidence as the game went on. Those are good things. Rebounding against the teams on their regular- season schedule will be more and more difficult, but at least here they out-rebounded a team they were supposed to out-rebound, 52 to 34.
Omar Calhoun hit 5 of 6 from three-point range to score 20 points. I asked him where he learned his unorthodox looking shot.
“My father taught me,” he said. “I was just a shooter at first, then I developed other parts of my game. But he taught me, feet into the shot, elbows in. I hear a lot [that it's unusual]. but I just want the ball go in. I’m not changing it.”
Enosch Wolf, who got into the game for 10 minutes and got two points and two rebounds, saw the Huskies’ itinerary for Germany and was upset, Tyler Olander said. “He was upset that we’re not going to get to spend much time off the base,” Olander said. “He wanted to take us to a real German restaurant to have some real schnitzel.”
Wolf, Niels Giffey (who scored 12 points) and Leon Tolksdorf, who played 15 minutes and had five points and three rebounds, do a lot of their own cooking at school, cooking German dishes their teammates occasionally try. There were a few moments in the second half where all three were out on the floor together, as Ollie was able to experiment with a lot of different looks with the Huskies playing better and building a big lead. … And once again, things pick up when R.J. Evans checks in.
Jim Calhoun was at the game, in what appears will be his usual spot on the baseline. As I posted earlier, the coach will join Joe D. on the radio broadcasts in Germany.
Greg Herenda, the UMass-Lowell coach, said he was “impressed” with UConn. He knows the coaching staff well. He was an assistant under George Blaney at Holy Cross and Seton Hall and has often been invited to watch the Huskies practices. “I’m proud we came in here and just fought,” Herenda said. “… Hey, I’m glad. I’m a UConn fan. George Blaney is my guy. Now they’ll go up against Michigan State and have a chance to see how good they are.”
Herenda described the Huskies as “sharp … quick … athletic … long … fast .. and confident.”
DeAndre Daniels, who had 15 points and 14 rebounds, said that last year, when things were going poorly, “I wanted to go home. ” We will have a story on Daniels in our special preview section, due out this week in the print Courant.
Some more player reaction:
Ryan Boatright: “The defensive picked it up tremendously. We were talking and helping each other out.”
Omar Calhoun: “Once we started rebounding, we were able to push the ball in transition. We pushed the ball, we got shooters spotted up and getting to the rim. Coming from New York, I’m always going to play physical basketball. Going into a game that’s going to be physical, that’s right up my alley.”
Daniels: “I didn’t think I had that many rebounds. When Coach Ollie told me after the game, I was surprised myself.”
Olander: [DeAndre] doesn’t seem like a guy who can go up and get 14 rebounds, but that’s the effort. He put in a little extra effort and came down with 14. … Niels had hustle plays all over. Every time someone comes off the bench, they’re hustling.”
Programming note: UConn will have an open-to-reporters practice Monday afternoon, so I will be at Gampel blogging, tweeting as usual. Then I pack for Germany. I leave Tuesday night and arrive there Wednesday. With the time difference, I’ll be filing a lot of things late at night, such as after the hospital visit on Wednesday, to be available on the website first thing in the morning.
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