So, apparently George Blaney got a little feisty in the locker room at halftime of this one.
Now, it’s not exactly a Wayne Brady situation, where a supposedly mild-mannered person reveals his “real” self. (Note: the content in that link isn’t for all viewers. Hilarious Dave Chappelle episode, if you like such things, though).
Blaney didn’t coach for decades at the Division I level without knowing how to make his voice be heard.
That being said, he hasn’t been forced to yell much over the last decade with Jim Calhoun around. Sometimes, however, it’s exactly what a team needs.
UConn, it seems, needed a bit of that tonight.
“I really got on them pretty good at halftime, all about playing harder and harder and harder,” Blaney said. “I kept pleading with them ‘I want to score 50 points this half and I want to keep them under 50 (for the game).’ And we came pretty close. We scored 46 and kept them to 54.”
Don’t take Blaney’s word for it on the yelling. The players were taken aback, slightly.
“He came in and he was stomping his feet and he hit the chalkboard,” center Andre Drummond said. “I was confused because coach Blaney never yells at anybody. He’s probably the most down-to-Earth, calm person I’ve ever seen. So if he’s yelling and screaming, that means we’re doing something wrong.”
Added Shabazz Napier: “He got into us. He yelled. It was one of those things where you sit back and say ‘Wow, he’s yelling!’ Because Blaney doesn’t yell. I got guys who were like ‘Did you realize what happened? Blaney doesn’t usually yell at us.’ We have to turn it up, we have to play hard.”
The speech worked, it seems. The Huskies ran away with things in the second half, hitting 63 percent of their shots and continuing to dominate the glass.
— UConn scored more than 69 points for the first time in 2012. It also held DePaul to a season-low.
The Huskies dominated the boards (50-27) and actually had a few hoops in transition (I know, shocking!).
— Alex Oriakhi had 14 points and 10 rebounds, his first double-double since the UCF game and just his second of the season.
Napier had his best game in quite some time with 14 points and 11 assists.
— Blaney on Drummond:
“He catches everything. He’s like (Rob) Gronkowski, I guess,” Blaney said.
On the sprained ankle:
“He worked hard at recuperating,” Blaney said. “It didn’t seem to bother him. I’m sure it hurts but it didn’t seem to bother him.”
Drummond said it wasn’t exactly a pain-free night. And after the game the ankle wasn’t feeling too good.
“As of right now, yeah, it’s sore,” Drummond said.
— Blaney on UConn’s NCAA chances:
“We went to Syracuse on Saturday and we moved up five places in the RPI with a loss. We went to 20th,” Blaney said. “We keep telling the team that we are in a very good position if we just start getting some wins.”
— On the offense in the first half:
“I can’t believe how many easy shots we missed in the first half,” Blaney said.
— Blaney had plenty of praise for Napier.
“I’m liking the way he’s handling things on the floor. He’s talking to people, he’s keeping people in the game,” Blaney said. “Most importantly, he’s pushing the ball at people.”