So how did UConn win a game in which it tied the all-time Big East record for biggest rebound deficit?
According to coach Kevin Ollie, heart.
UConn was out-rebounded 55-24. That matched Seton Hall’s deficit to St. John’s (66-33) in a game Feb. 26, 1997. Seton Hall lost, however, 66-62.
Providence also made 32 free throws to just 19 for UConn.
But Ollie’s favorite stat?
“I really love the fact that we have more points than Providence,” Ollie said.
— IT WAS WHAT a certain former UConn coach liked to call a rock fight.
“Coach has been preaching it all year. When the fight breaks out, we have to be the one to hit. We have to figure out how to stay on our feet. That’s what we did,” guard Ryan Boatright said.
Enosch Wolf, Tyler Olander and DeAndre Daniels all fouled out for the Huskies.
“I didn’t have any 5-men or 4-men left at the end of the game,” Ollie said. “But we had each other and that’s what it’s all about.”
— ALTHOUGH SCRIBES LIKE me enjoy it when teams take pot shots at officials, no one on the UConn side did so Thursday.
Even though Doug Shows, Wally Rutecki and Mike Nance were, let’s face it, not good.
Rutecki of course is the official Jim Calhoun once said: “It’s not his fault. He’s just incompetent.”
Anyway, Ryan Boatright at least had some fun with his no comment.
“I’ve learned to not make comments when it comes to the refs,” Boatright said with a smile. “They read the papers just like everybody else does.”
Ollie said the players simply had to adjust to the way the game was officiated.
“If the refs are calling fouls for us, calling fouls for them, it is what it is,” Ollie said. “You have to make the adjustments as players.”
— WITH THE FLU bothering him, Tyler Olander played just 12 minutes. Well, some of his lack of time was due to fouls, too.
“We understood that he was trying to give us his all,” teammate Shabazz Napier said.
Boatright turned his ankle in the first half, just before hitting a 3-pointer that put the Huskies up 25-10.
He was asked after the game if he was hurting.
“Oh, definitely. But I tried not to show it,” Boatright said. “I knew in order for us to win I had to get back out there and play to help my team. I just sucked it up.”
— PROVIDENCE COACH Ed Cooley benched usual starters LaDontae Henton and Vincent Council to start the game, inserting Lee Goldsbrough and walk-on Ted Bancroft instead. Reserve Sidiki Johnson, who had 14 points in the Friars’ last game, did not play at all.
Cooley did not call the moves disciplinary but just an attempt to shake things up.