Some notes, quotes and thoughts from UConn’s win over Harvard …
STORRS – Kind of a check-point for the Huskies. They have a 10-day break for final exams.
At 7-2, you have to figure they have overachieved. The win over Michigan State was one you couldn’t have predicted, the losses to New Mexico, which has since been ranked, and NC State you can take. They’ve beaten the teams any UConn team is supposed to beat, though it took double OT against Quinnipiac, a come-from-behind effort against Stony Brook and some grueling effort against New Hampshire and Harvard.
In this game, and the New Hampshire game, UConn broke out to early leads and never gave the lead up. That probably says something.
The search for a “third scoring option” is leading to DeAndre Daniels, who scored 23, a career high. (I will write more on him tomorrow). Shabazz Napier was effusive.
“He has to believe he can score,” Napier said. “I always tell him, not to compare himself, but watch Carmelo Anthony. … make your moves quicker.”
Daniels: “Shabazz says, ‘as soon as you get the ball, ‘turn face.’”
Here is the game story in the Saturday Courant.
Enosch Wolf got the start, but did not really impact the game. Hard to believe a 7-1 player could get no rebounds in 20 minutes against Harvard, but it happened. UConn goes back to the drawing board there – out-rebounded in eight of nine games. One would guess Tyler Olander would start again.
“We want him to fight to get that position back,” Ollie said. “It’s not etched in stone that you’re a starter.”
Here is the UConn notebook from the Saturday Courant.
Shabazz Napier on his night:
“I love passing the ball and getting rebounds and assists. I don’t really care too much about scoring as long as my team wins that’s all that I care about. I am happy when I see a guy get a steal – I like to see somebody else happy. That motivates me to keep it going because when I see my teammates happy I know we’re doing something well collectively.”
“When I kept scoring, I got more confidence in myself. My teammates kept looking for me and finding me and I kept hitting my shots. I can help them and take the load off of them because everyone is going to be scouting us and trying to get us out of our game. I just need to step up and help and get the load off of their back. … I was confident in myself. My teammates started the game going to me to try and get me going.”
Napier: “We can’t have DeAndre and Omar BOTH not scoring.”
It has been rough sledding for Omar Calhoun. He had a bit of a deer-in-the-headlights look at Madison Square Garden. Against Harvard he Went 0-for-6 from the floor, no points, four rebounds in 26 minutes. Rebuilding his psyche will probably be a task during the break.
R.J. Evans played only seven minutes. Not sure if his shoulder was bothering him again.
Niels Giffey, after two scoreless games, broke it with four points late. Only three UConn players had scored (Wolf, Daniels and Ryan Boatright) before his dunk with 9:53 left.
Some Tommy Amaker:
“I thought the start was very tough for us. I give them a lot of credit. They got it to, I think, 15 to 2. I think [DeAndre] Daniels had an outstanding offensive game. We were searching for answers to try to defend him. I was very pleased our kids to make a great effort to put us back into the ballgame. In the first half it could have been a lot worse than it was. Being down by one possession at the half I thought gave us an opportunity to see if we could hang with these guys for 40 minutes.
“I think [UConn] played an outstanding game especially in the second half when they were able to kind of spurt away from us.
“[DeAndre Daniels] was a tough match-up for us. He seems to be a very versatile player. We’ve also been seeing and hearing that they wanted to get more from him. He certainly looked like he delivered tonight.”