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UConn vs. Houston -- Postgame Quotes

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January 30, 2014
UConn vs. Houston

UConn Head Coach Kevin Ollie

That was a great game by us. We came out and played right out of the gate. I thought the key was TaShawn Thomas. To hold him to six points and four rebounds, that's just a great job by Amida (Brimah), and then Phil (Nolan) came in and gave us a lift on the offensive and defensive end. It was just a complete game by us.

It was a collective effort. Everybody stepped up in DeAndre Daniels' absence. I'm very, very proud of this team. Now we've got a week off, and we're going down to the best team in the American Conference, Cincinnati.

We're on our way. We're trending in the right way - rebounding, defense - everything is trending in the right way. Now, we've got to keep it up.

I told the guys that this wasn't a "revenge game" for us. We just wanted to show Houston that we were a better team. That was the only goal we had in mind.

We stayed in the middle of the ring tonight. We didn't get on the ropes like they got us on the ropes in Houston. We were fighting. We were throwing punches. And that's what I want my guys to do. We want to throw punches, multiple punches. We might not knock somebody out in the first round, but over the course of the game, we'll knock you out, hopefully. And that's what we did tonight.

On UConn sophomore forward Phillip Nolan
I think that dunk that Ryan Boatright assisted him on got him going in the beginning. And that's what good point guards do. Ryan was punching it, and if you get the big guy in it early, and you get them a dunk, their whole world changes. Their energy goes up. That's what you try to do. You take care of your big guys, especially when they're running like that. And the big guys will take care of you - start blocking shots, start setting screens.

On UConn's transition defense tonight
Our first three steps of transition were great. Everybody was pointing, everybody was talking. That's what good defensive teams do.

UConn senior guard Shabazz Napier

We knew they couldn't run with us. We got our rebounds. We played good defense, we pushed and when we do that we're definitely a good team.

How did you make-up for DeAndre Daniels being out?
The next guy stepped up. When (Ryan) Boatright was out the next guy stepped up. With DeAndre out tonight Niels (Giffey) stepped up. Everyone stepped up. Lasan (Kromah) did his job. It was a good team effort.

UConn sophomore forward Phil Nolan

Tonight was one of those nights when I just happened to get the ball a lot more than usual. Fortunately, I converted.

We tried to focus in on defense tonight. Rotation is the key - everybody has to rotate.

About the team's rebounding
I have to resort back to practice. That's one of the main things Coach tries to instill in us - rebound. We do like 10 rebound drills in practice and it's paying off.

On getting DeAndre Daniels back
It's very important. He's a very important piece to our team.

UConn junior guard Ryan Boatright

It was very important to get off to a good start tonight. We knew we would have a great crowd out there. We jumped on them from the start and from there they could never get their rhythm.

We wanted to come out with a lot of intensity and a lot of pressure on the defensive end to make sure we were rebounding, executing our defensive schemes and getting out in transition. And that's what we did.

On getting the last shot of the first half and first of the second half (both three-pointers)
I wouldn't necessarily call them statement shots. I was just taking what was there. I wasn't trying to force anything. I've been in a shooting slump lately. My percentage went from 44 to 39 percent. I was just taking my shots, taking UConn shots and focusing on making them.