‘That was a pretty good beating’

Louisville's Gorgui Dieng, right, puts a shot up over the defense of UConn's DeAndre Daniels during the second half of their game Monday in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Just when you thought the worst was behind the Huskies, you get this.

On paper, it was only a 21-point defeat. Those who watched, however, know Monday night’s 80-59 loss could have been 40-point blowout if Rick Pitino didn’t call off the dogs a bit.

It was the worst a UConn team has performed in a long, long time. Games that come to mind are at Michigan State in 2000…at Kansas in 1995…at St. John’s in the 2010 Big East tourney….home to Cincinnati a couple years ago….maybe even at St. John’s in the Dream Season (UConn’s last game at Alumni Hall/Carnesecca Arena, I believe).

This one might have topped the all. It probably didn’t but it’s fresh in the mind so it automatically gets moved up the list.

Here are some quick reactions from the particulars:

— Associate head coach George Blaney said the Huskies should (and they do) feel embarrassed.

“I sure hope they do. That was a pretty good beating in that second half,” Blaney said.

Alex Oriakhi admitted the Huskies gave in at one point.

“In the second half we just gave in,” Oriakhi said. “I told guys if we’re going to lose, go down swinging. We just took a butt-whipping and we didn’t fight back. It’s very frustrating.”

— The Huskies were down by five at the half. Then the other shoe dropped.

“I thought we were in good shape at the end of the half. We continued to not play very good offense but we were playing terrific defense, we were on the floor for loose balls, we were competing, and we were in fine shape,” Blaney said. “We came out to start the second half and didn’t box out a couple times and just kind of turned them loose.”

— PG Ryan Boatright said after the game that he might take more of a leadership role. Asked who might be able to convince the Huskies all isn’t lot, Boatright said:

“Me. I ain’t never gave up at no time in my life. I’ve been in down situations and pressure situations and real low points in my life and I’ve never given up,” Boatright said. “I ain’t giving up so if I’m on this team I ain’t going to let them give up.”

“If that’s what it’s got to be and I have to take that role, then I’m going to do it,” he added.

Will Boatright’s teammates listen to him?

“I think they will. I never came in trying to be the boss or nothing like that. I always played my role,” Boatright said. “I just want to win. If all they want to do is win then they’ll accept it, because somebody has to step up and do it.”

— G Jeremy Lamb is obviously in a shooting slump. He seemed really down after the game.

On trying to stop the kind of run Louisville was on:

“There’s stuff we can do but basically, I don’t know, times like that I just have to put the ball in the hole,” Lamb said. “And I just can’t hit a shot. I’m trying to work hard on the defensive end but I just can’t hit a shot right now.”

“I’m…I’m…I’m just not good on offense,” Lamb added. “I’m in a bad slump right now.”

He isn’t blaming his teammates for not finding in good positions to shoot or anything like that. Nor is Lamb pointing any fingers at teammates who are shooting just as poorly.

“Just me in particular, I’m not knocking down open shots,” Lamb said. “When I get to the rim I feel like I’m getting offensive fouls that aren’t offensive fouls. I’m just not good on offense.”

— Blaney on Andre Drummond (scoreless for the first time since his first game): “He had a freshman night.”

— Is there still hope?

“We’re not a bad team. We played bad tonight in the second half,” Blaney said.



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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