HARTFORD – Notes, quotes, thoughts from UConn’s easy win over Maine.
Not much going on here, I’ll just give you a little more to chew on. UConn was supposed to win big, and did. No let up, no let down, those are good things. Maybe Kevin Ollie has learned something about Kentan Facey, too.
Here is Ollie’s take:
“Great game, our focus was solid, especially coming off the Florida game. It was a little shaky in the beginning, we let them have a little run, but we called a quick timeout and focused back up. Once again, our three point shooting was incredible.
Only thing we struggled with was the free throw line (17 for 28 after a 1-for-7 start. We could have done better in that area. But 23assists to 12 turnovers, our point guards were outstanding, [Ryan] Boat[right] was outstanding. Made the game easy, making the pull ups, a 5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. [Sha]Bazz [Napier] gets eight assists and three turnovers.”
“One person I’m very proud of is Kentan, sepping up. Nine rebounds. He’s one of the guys who hasn’yt gotten lot of playing time, but it’s not all about the game, it’s about his attitude and how he’s preparing. That shows he’s ready. He’s got to keep being prepared. I don’t know what the next game is going to entail, but when he gets in there, take care of his minutes and that’s what he did.”
“It’s very difficult [to defend our threes]. Spacing the floor.”
On Napier’s 500th assist: “That’s what you get when you stay here for a long time, you have the opportunity to win, to play with great players, share the basketball. “
[Niels Giffey] … he’s ‘first half player of the year.’ He gives us that spark off the bench when we need it. It was kind of flat early in the game and there he goes, boom boom, boom. He’s doing fabulouos things for us.”
[Beating the zone] That’s all of us working together. Us getting to our spots, us executing and scoring over it. That’ snot just ‘Bazz and Boatright, it’s guys setting screens. We set a lot of high screens, a lot of step up screens against zones. That’s by design, so our big guys are being selfless and taking themselves out of the play so our guards can get open. And finally we kind of came off that elbow screen and just pulled up. Sometimes, we get into thick of defense and we don’t do that.”
We’ve got to keep working. We’re not going to have a game ‘til we face a great opponent in Stanford, who runs the zone, too, a lot. This was good for us to see this much zone. They play 50 percent zone in some of the games we watched.”
[On Calhoun] That’s how you shoot yourself out of a slump, you have to shoot it. He took two bad shots, we don’t want him to take contested threes. But wide open shots, we want him to take because he’s a great shooter. Our three point shooting is great, and he hasn’t even been shooting great and he’s one of our shooters. Imagine when he gets on board, like tonight, 4 for 9 it just opens up the floor even more.”
[Shabazz and Doron Sheffer] They’re both great leaders, outstanding leaders. They have the ball in their hands, we call the ball the cake, we want to take care of the cake. [Napier has] been taking care of the cake his whole career. He likes to score, but when he passes I think he gets definitely more excited, get Phil [Nolan] a dunk. He looks to get people the ball,. He knows he can take a game over whenever he needs to. He loves to get people the ball.”
Here is the game story for the Saturday Courant. … Got to save something to write tomorrow. It’s going to be more on UConn’s success against the zone, expanding on what Ollie said above.
UConn has won 54 non-conference games in a row at home, dating back to 1997. They have won 123 of the last 124 against New England opponents.
Ryan Boatright has played in 54 games in a row.
Kentan Facey says, after the whole NCAA clearance ordeal, he can handle anything thrown at him. Here is the UConn notebook for the Saturday Courant. He had nine rebounds in 18 minutes – and showed, as he did against Detroit, the will to “go get the ball” Ollie has been asking to see, albeit against an inferior opponent.
UConn has 12 days off now before playing Stanford on Dec. 18. “It’s always tough, playing for KO, having 12 days with no games, just practice,” Boatright said.
Omar Calhoun broke out of his shooting slump the usual way, watching film, correcting mechanical flaws, getting a lot of reps in the gym. “I knew I’d have to shoot my way out of the funk I was in.”