HARTFORD – Highlights of Kevin Ollie’s remarks following UConn’s 70-61 loss to Villanova …
“Tough game. I’m disappointed because the crowd was so good, and they came in and wanted to support us. They wanted to push us through. But in the second half, we just got out-rebounded. It came down to a street fight out there. They threw it off the backboard and they went and got it. And we didn’t make the hustle plays, the toughness plays that I want to see from my team.
Credit to Villanova. Jay [Wright] had them ready to play. They got offensive rebounds, 20 of them to our five. The killer is what we’ve been doing really good, we had 19 turnovers. And we’ve been taking care of the ball pretty well. You put those two combinations together and it’s always going to end up in a loss.
… We couldn’t get out-rebounded like we did, and we didn’t make the crucial shots and get the crucial stops. And when we had the ball in our hands, we didn’t take care of it the way I envision us taking care of it.
I’m not jumping off a cliff. We’ll be ready for Cincinnati. I told my team, ‘this is going to be another team with the same recipe, so if we don’t get tougher, it’s going to be a tough road ahead. I think our guys are going to come back. They’ve been a very resilient team all year. … We’re there, we’re there. I’m comfortable and I’m confident in my team.”
This team has a lot of heart. I’m not worried about this team. But we do have to tighten some stuff up and we’ve got to get them playing with the toughness we need each and every day.
[Villanova] just played good defense. They played good gap defense. We had to move the ball against them, get in the cracks. And then we’d have to hit some shots. But we couldn’t get out in transition because of all the offensive rebounds. If you keep us in a half-court game, then you can bottle those two up, but most of the time they are getting out in transition, and that’s what gets them their layups, their threes. And then they get some confidence and make some plays in the half court. But when you give up 20 offensive rebounds, of course you can’t run like you want to run.”
[Napier] was in and out with foul trouble. It throws a player’s rhythm off when you’re in and out of foul trouble.
“It’s more about being tough. That’s tough on offense, tough on defense, tough on the boards. Because when tough situations happen, you have to have the mind-set that ‘I’m going to get this adversity.’ I don’t think we have did that quite well today.
You have to walk like, ‘This is my rebound, nobody else is going to get it.’ You say that with your body [language]. When you check in, you don’t have your shoulders slumped, you have your chest out. You’re talking to yourself, ‘I’m going to get 10 rebounds today.’”
I’m very pleased with Omar [Calhoun], but more important, not just with h is scoring, but his defense. That’s what I am seeing a bit more from him.”
“I’m sorry for the fans, we couldn’t get them a great victory to start their weekend.”