HARTFORD – Notes, quotes, thoughts from UConn’s loss to Villanova.
First blush – this is the most disappointing game of the season, because the Huskies aren’t perpetual underdogs any more.
The win over Syracuse changed that, raised expectations. So even though Villanova, with its resume loaded with quality wins, was a dangerous opponent, this is a let-down after what happened on Wednesday night – especially with an even bigger crowd.
The mechanics of the game are not complicated. UConn has no inside game, and is woefully thin up front. They’re limited. And when you can only do certain things, no matter how well, it’s going to be stopped at times.
Jay Wright said his plan was to put extra, extra emphasis on stopping Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. He was concerned that the extra help would allow others to produce, and Omar Calhoun, with penetration rather than relying on threes, did score 16, going 9 for 9 from the line. But that was not enough to carry UConn.
Here is the game story for the Sunday Courant.
The combined six points by Napier and Boatright were, of course, their lowest total in a game this season by far. The previous low was 19 against St. John’s.
“We can’t afford for both of them to have off shooting nights on the same night,” DeAndre Daniels said.
Ryan Arcidiacono had a big game for Villanova. Wright says he wants him to be more aggressive as a scorer. Here is the UConn notebook for the Sunday Courant.
Kemba Walker, averaging 17.2 ppg for the Bobcats, was at the game, with the NBA in its All-Star Break. He got a huge hand from the crowd, naturally.
Shabazz Napier: “We don’t sit on our success. That’s one thing I know for sure about this team. We just came out too fragile, with not enough toughness. … In the first half I got into foul trouble and I wasn;t to aggressive. Then I took some threes and when they didn’t connect I became passive. … They usually like to blitz the ball-carrier. I was too passive.”
Daniels: “They out-toughed us. I tip my hat to Villanova, they out-toughed us.”
Napier: “Everybody just played terrible”
Going to save some Omar Calhoun to write Sunday, but we talked some about his development. The college game has slowed down for him now, he says, and he is more comfortable. “I’m not just a shooter,” he said.
The Huskies have five days to get ready for Cincinnati, which beat Villanova this week. Kevin Ollie expects the “same recipe” from them. Here is his take on this game.
Here are some great pics from the game.
Minutes watch: Phil Nolan, after the encouraging 14 minutes against Syracuse, got two quick fouls and played only five minutes, getting one rebound. That didn’t help UConn’s rebounding.
Leon Tolksdorf got in for six minutes and hit two threes. R.J. Evans played 12, Niels Giffey 20. UConn got 20 points off the bench, to Villanova’s four.
The Huskies had 19 turnovers. Not awesome. The “Welcome to Ollie-Wood” sign? Potential.
Finally, your box score.