Concordia conquered

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Not sure if the colors will due the Concordia uniforms justice. They were BRIGHT!

AS FAR AS 60-point shellackings go, this one was pretty standard. UConn pounded Division III Concordia University 98-38 Monday night at the old mall.

UConn hit 57.8 percent of its shots, 70 percent in the second half. It out-rebounded Concordia 49-26 and held the Cougars to 20.8 percent shooting.

“We didn’t look at our opponent; we looked at ourselves,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. “This was an ‘us’ game and they took care of business.”

— YOU KNOW WHO else took care of business? Pat Lenehan.

The junior walk-on from Middletown had a bench-pleasing 7 points in just five minutes of action.

“I loved our bench today, even our walk-ons. Pat (Linehan) is looking like a different player. We’ve got some competition in there,” Ollie said with a laugh.

— ONE OF THE biggest stars Monday was freshman guard Terrence Samuel.

He had 10 points and 12 assists in 28 minutes of action.

“Terrence played incredible. He’s been doing that the whole preseason,” Ollie said. “He’s always playing hard. I can get on him and doesn’t change his face. He just keeps playing.”

It would be almost unthinkable for Samuel to crack the starting lineup this season, but you never know. Either way…

“It’s good to have that in my back pocket,” Ollie said.

— NEXT UP for Samuel and the Huskies is Friday night’s game against Maryland at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. For NYC native Samuel, he can’t wait.

“I played there in the Jordan Brand Classic,” Calhoun said. “It should be another great experience playing on that beautiful floor.”

— SOPHOMORE GUARD/FORWARD Omar Calhoun had a game-high 16 points and appeared to shake off the rust that may have accumulated from missing some action this summer (hip surgery).

“Yeah, I think so. Sometimes it’s mental, too,” Ollie said. “When you come back from an injury like that you’re kind of cautious: ‘Should I plant off that leg? What’s going to happen with my hip?’ Now he’s just letting the game come to him.”

Calhoun hit 4-of-7 3-pointers and had 7 rebounds.

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The warm-ups Concordia players had Monday sent a message about cancer awareness.

— CONCORDIA COACH Tyler Jones, an East Hartford native and the former coach of the CBA’s Connecticut Pride, was glad to be back home.

He acknowledged that the game happened because of Ollie.

“Coach Ollie is absolutely phenomenal. My relationship with him is why this all happened,” Jones said.

Jones also was glad to spread some cancer awareness

“Basketball is a great forum to promote cancer awareness,” Jones said. “The game is great. But the reason we were able to put it together was even better.”

As for the drubbing his squad took, well that was expected sort of.

“No real surprises,” Jones said. “I grew up (here). I’ve been inside this building hundreds of times. I’ve seen many, many, many UConn games.”

His players can still take something away, Jones said.

“What you hope for from my position is pockets of success, two or three minutes where you make a couple shots, get a couple stops, don’t turn the ball over,” Jones said. “Two minutes here, a minute-and-a-half there, maybe a four-minute stretch. And we had a couple of those tonight.”

— OLLIE KIND OF slammed his big guys after the rebounding stats he saw against Southern. He’s changed his stance, though.

“I apologized to my big guys. They boxed out (against Southern). It was the lack of guards boxing out in that first game,” Ollie said.

— SENIOR FORWARD/CENTER Tyler Olander didn’t start, as he did against Southern. He played only 7 minutes and was the only Husky not to score.

Ollie said he didn’t limit Olander on purpose. It just sort of worked out that way.

“It was just the ebb and flow of the game,” Ollie said. “When Pat Lenhan outscores Boatright, there’s a lot of things that didn’t look right on the stat sheet.”

Ollie did say Olander has to get in better condition but that the center spot is still being done “by committee” until someone steps up.

Neill

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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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