Cougars in town

Tashawn Thomas

Houston’s Tashawn Thomas, here climbing out of the stands after diving for a ball against Memphis Jan. 23, will be in Storrs Thursday night for a rematch with the Huskies. (AP Photo/Lance Murphey)

The Huskies just finished practice at Gampel Pavilion Wednesday afternoon. They’re getting ready for a rematch with Houston Thursday night here.

A few quick notes:

– HUSKY JUNIOR FORWARD DeAndre Daniels (high ankle sprain) is “probable” to play according to UConn coach Kevin Ollie.

“He’s healing well. We’ll see how it is in the morning time and we’ll evaluate it and go from there,” Ollie said.

Daniels didn’t practice Wednesday and hasn’t practiced much since injuring the ankle Saturday night against Rutgers. He was walking with a protective boot after practice Wednesday, though he didn’t seem to be limping.

“We’re not going to get him out here (to practice), especially if he’s about 60 or 65 percent,” Ollie said. “If we hold him out of shoot-around (Thursday) I probably won’t play him. We’ll see at 4 o’clock at our shoot-around.”

As for the other injured Husky, guard Omar Calhoun (ankle) is good to go.

“Yeah, yeah, I think he’s ready to go. We want Omar to get out there and play some good defense, knock down some shots for us and try to get back on track,” Ollie said.

“He’s going to get another great opportunity to go out there,” Ollie continued. “I think it’s only a matter of time that he breaks out of this slump and plays the kind of basketball we know he’s capable of. He’s working his butt off, though. That’s what I’m most proud of him about.”

– THIS IS THE fourth time UConn will play at game that tips at 9 p.m. this season.

The Huskies are 0-3 in those games already (losses to Stanford, Houston and Louisville).

– THE LOSS AT Houston Dec. 31 still stings some of the Huskies.

The Cougars’ 75-71 win _ which came after the home team took a 21-point lead, gave it all back then rallied for a win _ was a bit of a stunner in many ways.

The Huskies took the Cougars lightly, it seems.

“Definitely,” Ryan Boatright said. “I think we went into the game thinking we were going to go in there and get an easy win, especially with them not having three starters. We’re going into this game with a whole different mindset. And we’re at the crib and it’s going to be a good atmosphere here.”

The Houston loss is the one that bothers many Huskies the most.

“Yeah, that one and Stanford,” Niels Giffey said. “It was just the way we approached the game. The intensity wasn’t right. … It was things you can control.”

Ollie says there wasn’t any lack of respect for Houston.

“They ran the ball. They got out on the break. We wasn’t disciplined in our defensive sets and they took advantage of them. That’s what a good team does,” Ollie said.

– HOUSTON (11-9, 3-4) HAS dropped four of its last five games.

Guard L.J. Rose and forward Danuel House, key players for the Cougars who missed the first UConn game, have returned from injuries and will play Thursday.

UConn (16-4, 4-3) has won five of its last six.

– UCONN’S FEB. 6 game at Cincinnati will be seen on ESPN.

The game had been a “flex” which could have gone to ESPN or ESPN2.

- 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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