LEAVE IT TO a guy named Calhoun to steal the show.
But it’s not Jim anymore in Storrs. Omar Calhoun is the new sheriff in town.
Calhoun, a freshman guard from New York, scored a game-high 24 points as the UConn basketball team opened the exhibition portion (two games) of its schedule with a 78-63 win over American International College.
We’re a little pressed for time but here are some of the highlights from the postgame:
— SOMETIMES THE TRUTH is funny. Ryan Boatright hit the nail on the head when asked how Kevin Ollie’s first game as a head coach differed from what it was like under Jim Calhoun.
Keep in mind, UConn was down 10 REALLY fast and was still trailing at halftime.
“The mistakes that we made, we definitely would have heard about it in a way different way than we heard about it from KO,” Boatright said. “The fans would have got a show if we played like that with Calhoun.”
Ollie thought the start of the game was so bad it might be his last.
“You go 1-for-9 and I thought ‘Man, this might be my only time out here,’ ” Ollie said. “But it worked out good.”
But UConn picked up and (sort of) won easily.
“Nobody said it was going to be easy,” Ollie said. “And it wasn’t easy out there tonight.”
— AS GOOD AS Calhoun (the guard) played, Ollie took issue with some of his reactions to big plays.
“I told him to stay humble. I don’t like those little gestures after the layups. That’s not who we are,” Ollie said. “He’s going to learn that. He’s going to get better and he’s going to be a great player for this university.”
Calhoun got the message.
“I still have my little high school stuff in me. I hit the three and put the little ‘three’ signs up, then flexed my muscles on the and-1. I’ll make sure I won’t do that again,” Calhoun said.
— CALHOUN MAY HAVE been the game’s high scorer, but the game really swung when Boatright got it in gear. He scored 11 points and had one assist during the key 16-0 run early in the second half.
“Boatright started getting us going with his ball pressure. That’s what we needed and that’s what we’ve been stressing,” Ollie said.
— JIM CALHOUN WAS in attendance Thursday. He sat along the baseline with UConn AD Warde Manuel.
He also stopped by to talk with Ollie after the game for, ahem, a few words.
“Coach (Calhoun) came in and we talked. He said a few words,” Ollie said before correcting himself, “which I’m lying about. You know he can’t say a FEW words.
“It was good. Coach knows when to step off, step back, let me do what I have to do. Then he has the right words, even before I ask questions. He knows what I’m seeking from him.”
The Huskies outscored the Yellow Jackets 50-34 in the second half, and out-rebounded them 22-13.
— UCONN HAS WON 37 straight exhibitions, its last loss coming to Marathan Oil on Nov. 21, 1993.
— THE CROWD was announced as 5,349. It was pretty sparse throughout the building, with the obvious exception of the student section, which was packed as usual.