HARTFORD – Some notes, quotes, thoughts from UConn’s 76-66 win over Loyola….
The word is lackluster. It was a win, but obviously the Huskies did not play with anywhere near the emotion or intensity they showed at Madison Square Garden. That was probably inevitable, given the circumstances, but Kevin Ollie will make the most of it.
The Huskies did shoot well, over 50 percent, and hold down Loyola’s shooting percentage, but they gave up too many second-chance points (16) and that kept the game closer than it needed to be.
“I told the guys I’m very proud of them, being 7-0…It’s been a hectic schedule. I’m proud of their effort. I’m just disappointed in the inconsistencies, especially with the rebounding….But guys are playing hard. We held then to 35 percent shooting again. We shoot over 50 percent. So, there are some positives, but also some negatives that we’ve got to continue to work on.”
“That’s a well-coached team. They’ve got a guy that can score 30 points on any given night. And even when he has a bad night he has 23. They’re going to win a lot of games in their league….So, I’ll take this win any day.”
We had some let-downs again. We’d get up 15 points and then we’d give the lead up. I want to get up 15 points and then I want to go up 25, I don’t want it to go back down to five. And that’s how we’ve been playing some of these teams. Great teams don’t do that, and that’s what we aspire to be – a great team.
“This effort, right here, we’ve got to get better….When you get a 15 point lead, I want the lead to go to 25. So I’m not jumping for joy, but I am jumping for joy that we’re 7 and 0.”
“[Kromah] is just phenomenal….He’s just all over the place. One thing I see is just his defensive effort….He’s always getting his hands on the balls and deflecting balls and getting lay ups. We want him to just keep playing that way….He just gives us so much versatility. And that’s what we want our guys to be and have versatility. And that’s what I keep recruiting for.
“I told DeAndre, he’s got to [play with effort,” Ollie said. “That’s all I told him. I got right in his face and I told him, ‘if you want to be good, you want to be great, you can’t play like that. I don’t care if you don’t score another basket, you’ve got to pick your energy up and that’s what he did. And he played outstanding. We can count on ‘D’ if he plays like that. … The one thing that I don’t like is the inconsistency. So if you want to playand you want to get to the next level and you want to do certain things, you have to be consistent. That’s what I want him to do. Play consistently with energy. I’m not talking about making shots, because that’s a 50-50 chance. But you can control playing with effort, your attitude.”
Here’s the game story for the Wednesday Courant
Have to save something to write tomorrow. Lasan Kromah provided a spark off the bench with 12 points. He’s added something positive, much the way the last fifth-year transfer, R.J. Evans did last year.
“Those guys provide a spark,” Ryan Boatright said.
Interesting night for Shabazz Napier. Only four points, didn’t get to the line at all, but he had seven rebounds, seven assists, three steals and three blocks. The Huskies had 11 blocks. Here is the UConn notebook for the Wednesday print edition.
Minutes watch: Ollie used 10 players, but Terrence Samuel played only three minutes. Kentan Facey, still a work in progress, did not play at all. Amida Brimah played eight minutes. Phil Nolan, who scored eight points and had his most productive game, played 18. That was a career high in scoring for the sophomore. Boatright’s eight rebounds were a career high.
Daniels had hit 14 free throws in a row before a second- half miss. .. Kevin Ollie is 13-1 in November. The loss? New Mexico in the Virgin Islands. … This was the first loss of G.G. Smith’s career at Loyola (4-1). … Here are some pictures from our Cloe Poisson.
Ryan Boatright on putting teams away:
“We need to keep playing. Once we get up to a certain number, 15, we fall back. We get lackadaisical, our defense falls off. When we go up 15 we need to put the pressure on a little bit more and bury these teams.”
“When we get up, like 17,” Daniels said, “We’ve got to keep playing keep playing defense, communicating, and run our offense, not try to go 1-on-1. Stay within our system and play UConn basketball. We get a little bit loose. Even if we’re not playing a big school, we still have to play hard.”
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!