A last trip to the Garden

UConn coach Kevin Ollie and a few of the Huskies spent some time Tuesday afternoon to talk with the media before heading to New York. The Huskies will take on St. John’s Wednesday night at the Garden.

It’s UConn’s final game this season at the famous arena. Kind of an odd thing before the calendar gets to March.

“Me and DeAndre (Daniels) were talking about that yesterday, that it would be the last time we play in the Garden this year,” guard Ryan Boatright said. “So we definitely have to make sure we go in there and get a win considering that we dropped the ball against N.C. State.”

Boatright wasn’t the only thinking about that fact. Ollie brought it up to the team following Sunday’s win over USF.

“It’ll be the last time we go into Madison Square Garden this year with the ban on the tournament,” Ollie said. “It’s going to be a special game and hopefully the kids will come out and respect the game, which I think they will.”

“I thought about it (Tuesday) morning when I walked to class,” center Enosch Wolf said. “But there’s nothing we can do about it. We’ll be back next year.”

– BOATRIGHT IN PARTICULAR will miss not returning to MSG.

“My favorite player was Allen Iverson and I can remember every time he went to the Garden he tried to put on a show,” Boatright said. “Every time I go to the Garden it’s definitely a blessing.”

– THE FACT THAT UConn is 15-5 and has zero chance of making the NCAA Tournament is a bit bothersome to a few of the Huskies. Boatright in particular is getting perturbed.

“I don’t even like ESPN half the time because of that,” Boatright said. “I see the dadgum ‘Journey to the Tourney’ commercial every other commercial. I get irritated and have to turn the TV off.”

Not all of the players have such problems, though.

“I don’t watch too much TV,” Shabazz Napier said. “When I do it’s cartoon stuff.”

– IN TV COVERAGE news UConn’s Feb. 13 game against Syracuse will be seen on ESPN.

The game had been an ESPN or ESPN2 situation.

This means Brent Musberger and Bob Knight will be in Hartford.

– IN CASE YOU missed it, here’s today’s story from the JI on the Huskies.

– UCONN HAS WON three straight games, including the last two in dramatic fashion.

“Hopefully we can keep this winning streak alive. To win three in a row in the Big East is good. To win four is great. To win five is great,” Ollie said. “We have to win four before we get to five.”

– HE WASN’T OFFICIALLY involved with Chris Obekpa’s recruitment, but Omar Calhoun admits he tried to get the shot-blocking star to choose the Huskies.

“Me and him are close friends,” Calhoun said.

Calhoun and Obekpa have played together in the past and the former was hoping his friend might follow him to Storrs. Instead, Obekpa ended up at St. John’s, where he has already blocked 99 shots (4.5 per game).

Of course, Calhoun could have ended up at St. John’s, too.

“They recruited me. Coach (Steve) Lavin’s a great guy,” Calhoun said.

– A STAT COURTESY of our friend Joe D’Ambrosio, UConn played back-to-back overtime games (Providence and USF) for the first time since the 2006 NCAA Tournament. That would be a win over Washington and a loss to George Mason.

UConn has never played three straight overtime games.

- Neill

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About Neill

Neill Ostrout covers the UConn men's basketball team for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester. He has been a member of the "Horde" for more than 16 years.
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