About to check out of Storrs, but here’s a few notes and quotes from the particulars after UConn’s 64-55 loss to SMU Sunday.
— IT WAS OBVIOUSLY one of UConn’s worst offensive games this season. The Huskies shot a season-low 29.6 percent and just squeaked by their season-low point total (51 against Stanford).
“This is the point in the season where they know what’s going to come. They scout us and they’ll take our first or second option away,” UConn F Niels Giffey said smartly. “We have to continue to work to get the right shots at the right time. And obviously you have to move the defense a couple times before doing that.”
UConn coach Kevin Ollie, who preached this to the team often during the game it seems, agreed.
“You can’t shoot 29 percent,” Ollie said. “I look at my starters and man! There was just a lot of missed shots.”
Shabazz Napier was 5-for-16. Ryan Boatright was 3-for-12. DeAndre Daniels was 2-for-10.
SMU is among the national leaders in FG% defense but Ollie says his team made it easier for the Mustangs.
“They’re tough defensively but you just have to move the basketball,” Ollie said. “We made them even tougher by staying on the first side.”
“We just have to trust each other. You can’t do it on the first side. You have to throw it to the second side. What I mean is reversing the ball. Then you reverse it again to the third side. Maybe even reverse it again to the fourth side. And then you attack,” Ollie said. “That’s all about trust. It’s not ‘I’m going to do it on the first side, I’m open.’ ”
— SMU COACH Larry Brown, gave plenty of credit to his guys, obviously, but said both teams played tough D.
“We have as good a defensive guard as there is in the country in Nick Russell and we have some length behind him,” Brown said. “I thought both teams defended like crazy. We made some shots in the second half.”
— NAPIER WAS PRETTY clearly hurting. He landed hard on his back early in the game (which prompted the court cleaning) and also hurt his right pinky finger at some point.
Ollie was a bit testy when asked about it after the game.
“He didn’t tell me anything. James (Doran) didn’t tell me anything,” Ollie said, referring to UConn’s trainer. “So, no. There’s no excuse. You have to play. Nobody told me anything so I’m thinking he’s fine.”
Napier didn’t stick around after the game to talk to the media. (Which, to be fair, given the amount of times he’s spoken with jerks like me, I guess isn’t much of a sin).
— BROWN TOOK TIME after the game to praise Ollie.
“He’s the best teammate I’ve ever been around,” Brown said before correcting himself slightly. “I don’t think that’s fair to say but he’s as good as anybody that’s ever put on a uniform.”
Brown then gave him credit for taking over for Jim Calhoun, obviously a tough job.
He also acknowledged Calhoun’s attendance, and lack of enthusiasm for seeing Brown.
“I was happy to see him here,” Brown said with a smile. “He gave me a half-ass wave. I know how competitive he is.”