ROSEMONT, Ill. – What a scene in the lobby of the Allstate Arena. Ryan Boatright was mobbed by dozens, maybe hundreds of family and friends from East Aurora, Ill. Many were able to make the drives to Milwaukee and South Bend to see him earlier this year, but DePaul plays really close to home, right in Chicagoland, and it seemed like the while town was there.
“Man, it’s all love,” Boatright said, “it’s great, all the attention and all the love. Playing in my home town.”
Boatright spent a lot of time last summer, and will spend more this summer, talking to kids in East Aurora, advising them on how to get out and play college ball. “I want to do as much as I can for this community,” he said.
And Boatright had a big night for the folks, shaking off his two-game shooting slump to score 17 points, hitting 7 of 11 from the floor, 2 of 4 on three-pointers, four rebounds, six assists.
“We wanted him to play good basketball,” said Shabazz Napier, who went out to the lobby to meet Boatright’s mob. “We wanted him to score as many points as possible. It’s a great opportunity to be able to play in front of his mother, his father, all his cousins, everbody. I’m blessed that I don’t play too far from home [in Boston] so my mother and family can come and see me.”
Great night for UConn in general. Tough first half, but they blew the game out in the second half and made a Big East road win as easy as anyone can expect one to be.
Here is the game story for the Sunday Courant.
Phil Nolan made an effective contribution in 14 minutes, a couple of blocks and rebounds. Tyler Olander had four rebounds, and hit a couple of mid-range jumpers – we’re seeing more of that lately. Also saw a lot of Niels Giffey at the five, which, Giffey told me, is more like a “European Four.” A lot of times in European basketball, two smaller, athletic players handle the front court, the way he and DeAndre Daniels do a lot for the Huskies.
Here is the UConn notebook for the Sunday Courant.
And here are some great pics from our Brad Horrigan.
Daniels was in foul trouble and played only 11 minutes in the first half, which allowed his man, Cleveland Melvin, to go off a bit. Melvin scored 20, but UConn’s defense was much better in the second half.
Here is Kevin Ollie’s take on the game.
Shabazz Napier was funny, talking about Ollie’s first technical foul. “I congratulated him,” Napier said. “I got the whole team together and said, ‘give it up for Coach Ollie, he got his first technical. He’s on his way to being Coach Calhoun.’”
UConn had the edge in rebounds, 32 to 21, but was outscored in the paint 38 to 26 and on the fast break, 16 to 12. But the Huskies shot an insane 60 percent, 30 for 50, and went 11 for 22 from three-point range. Here is your box score.
Napier on the Georgetown game: “Our fans our going to be able to put us over the top, because it’s at Gampel.”
That’s going to be a good one Wednesday night – one more big moment for the team that lives in the moment.