Second verse, same as the first..

A LITTLE DIFFERENCE between the two halves of the UConn basketball team’s 88-73 win over Fordham, huh?

From up 57-28, making eight 3-pointers, stealing the ball 10 times, dishing out 16 assists, holding your own on the backboards (an accomplishment for this team against anyone) to…..Watching the other team go on a 19-0 run, getting destroyed on the glass (25-13), turning it over nine times yourself, and making exactly zero 3-pointers.

“We were on our way to a nice victory and they made it interesting,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. “We played the scoreboard. We let them back in the game. We gave up layups after layups after layups.”

— FORDHAM HEAD COACH Tom Pecora had a slightly different take.

“It’s easier to play hard and play better after you get your butts whipped for 20 minutes and you’re down 29,” Pecora said of his team.

— SO WHO IS UConn’s point guard?

Well, Shabazz Napier apparently went to the coaching staff three games ago (before Harvard) and asked to move back to the 1.

It’s worked, it seems. Ryan Boatright is scoring in bunches, including the career-high 26 he put up Friday.

“We both handle the ball, we can both distribute the ball, but we can both score the ball also,” Boatright said. “Whichever one has the hot hand, that’s who is going to go to the 2-spot. We have to be willing to be unselfish and keep giving that man the ball. Tonight was my night.”

Napier has had 9, 8 and 6 assists over the last three games. He had 19 points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals, too, against Fordham.

“I felt like we weren’t using Ryan to the best of his abilities,” said Napier, one of four Huskies to score in double figures. “I can get my points but I feel like Ryan’s more of a scorer where he can come off a lot of picks and he can score the ball. He doesn’t have to waste his energy coming up the court.”

— AS USUAL, rebounding was an issue for UConn. C Tyler Olander was better (6 rebounds in 17 minutes) while C Enosch Wolf was poor again (1 rebound in 8 minutes) and PF DeAndre Daniels wasn’t very good either (3 rebounds in 20 minutes).

Ollie was asked how close he is to settling on a rotation or even a starter in the middle.

“Not that close,” Ollie said. “It’s still a work in progress.”

Wolf started again on Friday. He may or may not continue to do so.

Ollie again expressed faith that his big men will eventually get it.

“We’re going to keep coaching them, keep believing in them,” Ollie said.

“Hopefully one of them, two of them step up and start rebounding the ball, start playing aggressively like we know they’re capable of doing,” Ollie 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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