HARTFORD – Ryan Boatright said it well. “A win is a win. We played Okay. We could have played better. We have some improving to do.”
DeAndre Daniels said it better: “We got the win, but it was a bad game. They out-hustled us on a lot of things, they worked harder than us.”
UConn’s 61-53 win over New Hampshire Thursday was probably the worst the Huskies have looked this season. They hit 1 of 14 from three-point range, shot only 36.8 percent. They did play some good defense, getting six steals in the first half and holding New Hampshire to 30 percent shooting.
“They had to shoot that bad for us to win,” Kevin Ollie said. …. Here is more on Ollie’s take.
In the past, one could imagine Jim Calhoun really lighting up his team after a win like this over a mid-major, but that’s not Ollie’s way. He said twice, “I’m not having a pity party. That’s not who I am.”
Gets back to my point following the Stony Brook game – nothing is going to be easy for this team. Not even this one, and the Wildcats were coming off consecutive losses to Bryant, NJIT and Holy Cross. “We’re not good enough to win playing like this,” Ollie said.
Boatright, who scored 19 points, his season high, said the young Huskies play to their competition, “flat” when they are not playing a “known team,” and “on fire” when playing a team like Michigan State. “We’re going to learn to play the same way all the time,” he said. This is not good. But if that’s really the pattern, UConn should play well next Tuesday against NC State, ranked 18th.
Here’s the main game story for the Friday Courant.
As Ollie stayed on positives, such as out-rebounding an opponent for the first time, he also had praise for Omar Calhoun, who missed all four of his threes but contributed in other ways – eight boards, three steals, a block, 8 for 11 from the line. That and other tidbits are in the UConn notebook for the Friday Courant.
Did you see the three paintings, depicting the UConn titles, unveiled at halftime? You can get more info on them here.
Some great pics of the game from our Mark Mirko, here.
As always, I need to save something to write tomorrow … but what? Will have to figure that out tomorrow.
Some Omar Calhoun: “We were just a little out of it offensively. We played some good defense today. Our offense just wasn’t that great. We were getting frustrated [offensively]. We just have to stay composed. Coach is just telling us to keep our heads up, keep fighting and pushing.”
This from New Hampshire coach Bill Herrion:
“Our kids gave great effort. I can’t question how hard our guys played. There were three things that we really stressed coming into this game playing these guys.
“The first thing was — and we didn’t do a great job of it in the first half — you have to make them guard you and you have to run offense. Their best offense a lot of the time is stealing the ball, long rebounds, run-outs, and break-outs. I don’t think we made our offense efficient enough in the first half, but then we got a little bit better in the second half. The second thing is your transition defense because their guards are so fast foul line to foul line. And you pick up the stat sheet and we did a great job on [Shabazz] Napier.”
“The third thing is the glass. We’ve been out-rebounded the last three games…I know that’s not a strength of theirs right now, but I thought we kind of held our own of the glass.”
“A team at our level, if you want to beat a team at this level, you need some guys to step up and make shots. I thought we had a lot of good looks. We just didn’t make that one or two shots you needed at the right time. I think we got fatigued. I rode our guys. I wanted to use the bench more and just couldn’t get to it because you’re in a game. It’s a four point game, five point game, six point game and you’re on the sidelines saying, ‘we can win this.’”
And, finally, your box score.
The Huskies will have an open practice/interview opportunity on Sunday. Have to be looking forward to hitting New York City, always great this time of year – especially Omar Calhoun, from Brooklyn. He will be playing at The Garden for the first time.