UConn 73, Stony Brook 62: Kevin Ollie’s Take

by Categorized: Kevin Ollie, Niels Giffey, R.J. Evans, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball

Highlights of Kevin Ollie’s post-game remarks, following UConn’s 73-62 win over Stony Brook:

“We’re getting closer in rebounding. That’s a positive. I think the guys played hard. The first half, of course, we couldn’t make a shot. And they were just out-toughing us….The second half, we came out and played better. We rebounded, we got out on the break and we just started making a lot of threes….I haven’t seen this team shoot like this in a while. That’s what we needed. It came off of great penetration with Boatright. They started sharing the basketball. … We just have to continue to build off of this.”

“… [Stony Brook] Coach [Steve] Pikiell does a great job. They packed it in, packed it in, and dared us to shoot threes. Once we started understanding the offense, drawing two and getting an advantage, we started kicking it out and they were wide open and our guys had their feet set and they let it go….And how we’ve been shooting threes they probably thought we were going to miss some. But we got hot.”

“Steve Pikiell was just leaving here when I got here [in 1991], so I know how hard-nosed he is. He is a hell of a damn coach, not because he’s a UConn man. He’s his own man.”

“When you have 26 points [at halftime], I just want to make layups. I really don’t care. Just make some points. I just really wanted to space the ball. There were packing it in a lot on us, taking a lot of charges. Then I think [Ryan] Boatright just did a terrific job finding a couple of threes for Shabazz in transition. And then Omar got hot. And then Niels [Giffey] just continued his play, being aggressive, looking at the basket and taking it in rhythm. I think we did a much better job in the second half finding each other and playing team ball.”

“… Omar [Calhoun] looked like a freshman that first half with five turnovers, but he looked like that player we know and love in the second half.”

“… Niels Giffey was my MVP. And he’s been my MVP this whole year, not just playing time, but doing all the things that epitomizes UConn basketball: Doing his thing academically, coming in and playing great basketball in practice. And he got rewarded tonight…. Niels was our glue guy. And with R.J. being out, that’s something that we were going to miss. And Niels just filled that void perfectly. I just thought he did a beautiful job. … Whether it’s 2 minutes or 40 minutes, I get the same thing from him. Never moaning, ‘coach, we’re practicing too long.’ He does something and then it’s ‘what else you got for me? I tell him, he’s going to be rewarded, not just in basketball, but in life, when you act like that.”

Question about Napier playing better in the second half:
“Your guess is better than mine. I don’t know if he wants to get his teammates in the game, but we’re just going to keep coaching him and keep trying to play the right way. I’m glad he picked it up in the second half once again and gave us a spark. But we would like to see it for 40 minutes….I’d rather him late than never. I appreciate his effort, appreciate him staying in the game and hitting some big shots for us and propelling us to a win.”

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2 thoughts on “UConn 73, Stony Brook 62: Kevin Ollie’s Take

  1. John D

    Giffey was the game changer last night and deserves whatever accolades Kevin gave him.The bottom line is the guy never had the chance to prove anything with the amount of pt that Calhoun gave him as in the case of many previous players during Jim’s tenure.Not taking away anything from what JC accomplished and as far as I’m concerned he will allways be the man but he always had his favorites at the expense of letting players rot on the bench for their whole four years at UConn.I’ve been a fan of UConn since the days they were in the Yankee Conference and never would have thought they would be a national power.I just hope that now that JC retired they don’t revert back to their previous history.

  2. Mike McManus

    Agree with John D. I felt that Giffey deserved more PT last year but as stated, JC had his favorites. I predict that with more PT, Giffey will get even better and will be a more consistent scorer. As for Napier, I think he and KO need to have a good heart to heart. Something is not right with Shabazz. In the first half of the last few games,he comes across as lackadaisical, almost like he’s going through the emotions, no enthusiasm, no fire. Though he always seems to be the so-called team spokesperson, he has not performed as a team leader. The team feeds off him so he’s doing his team mates a real disservice. UCONN needs him for a full game and not a half.

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