ROSEMONT, Ill. – Some highlights from Kevin Ollie’s postgame remarks, after UConn’s 81-69 win over DePaul. …
“Too many easy buckets for them at the start but we stayed with it and started playing UConn basketball.
Shabazz [Napier] had another awesome game. Philip [Nolan] came in and played very, very well for us, gave us a spark. R.J. [Evans] played well for us. Tyler [Olander] gave us a spark when we needed somebody to step up scoring, he gave us two quick buckets [to start the second half].
“All in all it was a good effort. Any time you can win on the road in the Big East, it’s a good win. So we’ll take this and go home and have two days to prepare for Georgetown and hopefully continue writing our story.”
[In the second half], we started playing defense. We weren’t playing defense in the first half. We started playing defense in the second half. It started with our guards, it started with Ryan, it started with Phil coming in and putting his hold on the paint with a couple of nice blocks. But it started with our guards on offense and defense, when they’re engaged, everybody is in their gaps, everybody in their spots, we’re a really good team.
First half, I thought we had too many threes, 14 of them. A couple of them were open looks, but a couple of them – we had a seven point lead and we jacked one, then jacked another one. We wanted to make sure we got to their rim and we started doing that in the second half. We had two free throws in the first half and we ended up with 12, so we started to get to the rim a little more. I like to be in that five to eight ranges [for three-pointers in a half]. I don’t like when we start shooting 28 threes a game [as against St. John’s].”
“Omar [Calhoun] played great the other night, too. He has been playing super, and it’s not just relying on his shot. He’s becoming a player. Everybody says he’s a scorer, but he’s becoming a basketball player because he is sticking his nose in there, rebounding more. Making some great assists. Doing all the different things we’re asking him to do to make an impact on the game, not just scoring.
“He’s becoming a complete basketball player right before our eyes and he’s improving each and every day because he is putting in the time and he is coachable. That’s one thing I want our players to be – coachable.”
Yeah, Ryan [Boatright] had a spring in his step – especially when he hit that 35-footer. Then he came down and made another, I was like, ‘Oh, man.’ He had a spring in his step. It was a great opportunity for him to play for everybody from his home town, he didn’t get to play here last year. He was one of our catalysts. … Ryan was finding his teammates better, penetrating. He made some shots, but he played some great defense in the second half. Nobody played defense in the first half, but the second half, that’s the UConn team I want to see.
“We just went back to our principles. Our principles weren’t there in the first half. We didn’t have nail help, we weren’t down on the pick and roll, we weren’t pursuing the basketball. There was no yelling, no screaming. We just wrote down on the board, ‘these are our principles.’ This is what we do on a daily basis. Let’s get back to who we are. And that’s what we started doing.”
“Niels [Giffey] is my utiliuty guy. If I need him to play the two, he plays the two for me. He can play the three, the four or the five. I haven’t played him at the point yet, because I have two point guards. He plays every other position. If I play him three minutes or 30 minutes, he’s fine with it, and that’s the great thing about Niels. I like those guys who sacrifice their immediate goals for the team, that’s what he does on a day to day basis. I’m glad he’s on my team.”
On the technical foul — “[Ref] Doug [Shows] said I was out of the box a little. I didn’t know where I was, I was at almost half court. I don’t know why my assistants didn’t grab me, so I’m blaming them. I was really had half court and he told me to get back, and he T’d me up. He had to do it, I was way out there. I lost my mind.”