HARTFORD – Okay, well there’s just not much to say about this game. UConn dominated it in every way, inside and out, start to finish.
It’s what UConn is supposed to do with opponents like South Florida, which was missing its best player, Anthony Collins, but, of course, it doesn’t always work that way. If any win is a good win, any blowout is certainly a good blowout – especially in February. This saved some wear and tear on Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright.
So this one’s in the books. Memphis next.
Kevin Ollie’s take:
First, I want to give my condolences to the Hurley family. Doc Hurley was a great man. My wife [Stephanie, a nurse] was taking care of him over at St. Francis and he was supposed to come to the Memphis game [Saturday]. One of his requests was to get a new Husky sweatshirt with the new logo on it. I didn’t a chance to give him that. “I’m going to miss him a lot, miss seeing him coming out of that tunnel and seeing him at all the games. He’s a great man and he will be missed.”
It was a great game. We came out and established ourselves early. Amida (Brimah) had two blocks and five points in the first two minutes and a couple of great passes. And we just kept it rolling. We packed the paint in. Everybody who stepped on the court got a basket. We had 24 assists on 28 made field goals. That’s amazing. And we out-rebounded them again.
I thought our defense has been great the last four games. I think we’ve been holding guys to a combined 33 percent. We’ve just got to keep this up….I want to keep this momentum going. I want to make sure we play defense. I just tell the guys to bring their locks. That’s kind of our motto right now. We want to be on lockdown defense. Hopefully guys are buying in. I’ve seen how it has transferred in practice over to the games. They’re following the game plan and details, and that’s what I love to see.
It’s a collective group effort. When we play defense we want 10 eyes on the ball handler, we wanted to load up, to pack the paint. And we wanted them to shoot threes. We didn’t want to give them layups. They just stayed to the game plan, and that’s what we try to do and I’m real proud of my guys.”
I enjoyed seeing Terrence [Samuel] out there running the show. Coach [Glen] Miller has been doing a great job with our big guys, getting them where they’re doing the same footwork as our guards. And [Kentan] Facey came right in that four-hole and made his first shot. I just thought he gave us a lot of energy. We didn’t lose any rhythm with our best two players on the bench with two fouls….I keep telling these guys “Be patient. Work while you wait.” And that’s what we’re trying to do. Just keep working while you wait and you’re going to get your opportunity. And they got their opportunity and they made the most out of it. So I’m very proud of the bench. And it just shows how deep of a team we are.”
Tyler [Olander] has some flu-like symptoms so we wanted to keep him at the hotel. Omar [Calhoun] is improving [with his concussion symptoms] each and every day. We don’t know if he’ll be ready for Memphis. Hopefully he is, but if he is not we just got to keep p raying for him and hope that he gets back. Keep everybody ready to go.
Memphis is going to come in, I know we beat them on their home court. I know they’re going to come in with revenge on their minds. So we got to make sure we stay solid, stay together, have effort and enthusiasm, and execution. That’s what good teams do, and we want to be a great team. To separate yourself and be a great team you’ve got to have execution. They executed the game plan to a ‘T.’
We look at the scouting report and see what teams like to do and we try to take away their tendencies. This team wants to drive the ball inside. They had 54 points in the paint against SMU. We did a pretty good job of keeping them out of the paint and shooting contested twos, and they were 2 for 12 from the three-point line. We try to take away the strength of our opponents.”
We’re still looking up to a lot of teams. We’ve got teams coming to our court who we’re looking up to, Cincinnati, Memphis, so we’ve got to play hard, play aggressive. We’ve got to take care business. But the guys have been doing a good job, they haven’t been looking past any teams, which I appreciate. They’re taking care of business.
“To see Pat [Lenehan] score finally. … He does a great job for us, he’s selfless, he’s out there and sometimes I keep him on defense the whole practice and they don’t ever give me a peep, they just keep playing hard. We got Pat’s name back on his jersey. My mom got on me, she said ‘you got to get those walk-ons their names on their jersey’, so we got that done. I’m happy for those guys who got in the game.”
Here is the game story for the Thursday Courant.
Stan Heath said he was going to burn the game film from this game. The Bulls, he said, “didn’t show up.” Here are some great pics from our Rich Messina.
Shabazz Napier scored seven points and passed Donyell Marshall and Khalid El-Amin to reach the top 10 in scoring in UConn history.” As soon as Napier passed Marshall, Donyell tweeted: “Congrats to the lil’ homey Shabazz Napier for passing me on the UConn scoring list. Had a great career at UConn. Glad he’s part of the family.”
Ryan Boatright is sitting at 999. He’ll get his 1,000th point on Saturday.
Here is the UConn notebook:
And here is your box score