UConnmen 80, Yale 62: Wrapping Things Up From XL

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, DeAndre Daniels, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball
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HARTFORD – Notes, quotes, thoughts from UConn’s win over Yale.

 UConn got two things out of its 18-point win  – a win, and a teaching moment.

Kevin Ollie’s take:

“They took it to us in rebounding in the second half. That’s the one thing I’m coming in here dejected about. Our rebounding effort is pride. We didn’t have the pride to put on that jersey today. And I’ve got to go back to the drawing board as a coach and find out the guys that are going to rebound, who are going to get the ball, who are going to put bodies on box outs. You can’t worry about the opponent. You’ve got to worry about what you’re doing inside to help this team win. You let down in the second half because we have a big lead, it just can’t happen if you want to be a great team. I think this team can be great, but with that effort, and with what’s coming down the pike, we can’t have that. I’m disappointed with that effort from our bigs.”

Some video of the coach here.

Yale and UConn were tied with 15 rebounds apiece at halftime, by which time the Huskies were ahead by 15. They eventually built their lead to 21, with 10:24 to go. In other words, most of Yale’s rebounding successes came after UConn had the game in hand.

Also, UConn blocked 13 shots, and altered many others to force Yale to miss 43 of the 63 they took. “You miss a lot of shots, you get a lot of rebounds,” coach James Jones said.

So, as usual, there’s the story behind the stat. You can’t pick one number out of the box score and jump o n it too hard (unless you’re a coach, of course) because all the stats are intertwined. Yes, the Bulldogs did a better job of chasing down the ball in the second half, and got as close as 11.

These points will give Ollie the chance to get his team to go harder still in practice, with tougher opponents coming “down the pike.” If UConn bigs thought they had it figured out after out-rebounding Maryland, Ollie and his staff will tell them another story now. And that’s what these early season games should provide.

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Shabazz Napier is the only player to get two triple-doubles at UConn – the other nine players who had done it once did not return for their seniors years. And assists weren’t kept years ago. But it’s a notable accomplishment and it’s emblematic of the kind player Napier is, unselfish and looking to make a mark in more than one column.

He gave credit to the big men for boxing out and setting rebounds up for him to get. “I know coach Ollie hates that, though,” he said. Napier made the AAC’s honor roll for week one, BTW.

Here’s the game story for the Tuesday Courant.

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DeAndre Daniels, no points, one rebound, seems to be in a funk, and Ollie sounded a bit ominous on that. “At the end of the day, you can’t baby him. … We can’t wait for anybody on this team, the minutes will be what the minutes will be.” Teammates like Napier and Niels Giffey were supportive.

There will be more on that coming up soon on our main website in the UConn notebook for the Tuesday Courant.

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UConn dropped a spot in both polls, despite the win over Maryland. They dropped from 18th to 19th in AP; Oregon, with its win over Georgetown, leap-frogged then. In the USA Today/Coaches poll they dropped from No. 19 to 20, with Wisconsin overtaking. … Whatever.

  Kentan Facey sighting: He played six minutes, made a couple of free throws. Leon Tolksdorf got in at the end, so 12 played.                                                                                          

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Talked to Niels Giffey about being in the zone, having the hot shooting hand he has now – 8 for 8 from threes. “You don’t think about technique any more,” he said. “You just think about planting your feet and separating yourself from the defender.” Have to save something for tomorrow, and it will be Giffey’s hot start. “Remember last year when I didn’t score in the first half,” Napier jokes, “Niels has that same disease now [in reverse].” … Giffey has 28 points in the first halves of the two games, zero in the second.

Here are some great Rich Messina pictures from the game.

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Ollie was a little miffed that Ryan Boatright started slowly, but he found his pace in the second half and scored 14 points, hitting his threes. “And he was second in rebounding with three, so go figure,” Ollie said.

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The Huskies were 11 for 17 from three, with six different players taking them. “They’re not a low post team,” James Jones said. “They try to spread you out, then penetrate and catch.

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 Napier, who fouled out against Maryland, was whistled only once against Yale. “[Maryland’s] Dez Wells is a little different kind of player,” Ollie said, “taking nothing away from the Yale guys. And some of the fouls were silly fouls, ticky tack fouls. Shabazz stayed away from that.”

Here is your box score.

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I can see a triple double in Amida Brimah’s future – points, rebounds and blocks, Thabeet style.

A look ahead to Thursday and the first game of the 2K Classic, against Detroit at Gampel. The Titans lost their opener at South Alabama, 74-58. They played Michigan-Dearborn on Monday night.

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