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UConn 66, Syracuse 58 Postgame Quotes

Feb. 13, 2013

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February 13, 2013
Connecticut vs. Syracuse
Connecticut Head Coach Kevin Ollie

It was a great game by our guys.  We played with energy, effort and focus. 

It’s kind of hard with the rivalry being over with.  Hopefully we’ll be able to play somewhere, somehow. 

The crowd was great.  They pushed us through….Hopefully our fans really saw our heart and our dedication out there tonight. 

Every guy that played on our roster came in and contributed. 

Our guards, it starts and stops with them.  And they played tremendous defense.  You see a guy like Michael Carter-Williams, a great player, get one assist.  And we hold a team with so much talent to 35 percent, it really shows the hard work and dedication they put in.

With all the obstacles, there is always opportunity behind those obstacles.  Once again, they fought all obstacles and made it through and came out with a fantastic win.  

How did you do so well against their zone
We just moved the basketball.  We were hitting shots.  Our defense really gave us the opportunity to get out on the break a little bit.  We gave up too many offensive rebounds, but that’s going to happen.  But when we got into the halfcourt, we converted.  It was just great ball movement from our guards….It was just a great ball movement game.  We got the ball from side to side. 

On Omar Calhoun
Omar was spectacular shooting the ball.  Our guards got him shots in the open court.

On playing for pride
We’re just one of the purest teams playing right now.  We’re not playing for the post season.  We’re playing for the love of UConn.  We’re playing for the love of each other.  We’re playing for the pride of getting better.  They can’t ban us from that.  They can ban us from the postseason, they can ban us from the Big East tournament, but they can’t ban us from getting better and loving each other.  They really love being around each other, and it shows. 

 UConn Player Quotes

Shabazz Napier

The crowd definitely helped us today.

On Philip Nolan
I’m so proud of him.  Did what he had to do, plus more.  We commend him for that.

It’s so tough playing against them.  

We just tried to play as hard as we can defensively.  We did a lot of switching on Southerland.  Boatright pressured Carter-Williams.  We had all five guys paying attention to the ball as well as paying attention to their man, and we just stuck together.

Omar Calhoun

It was definitely a big game.  I know the tradition and the rivalry between these two teams.  They got to leave with a taste of UConn in their mouth going to the ACC.

On hitting some big threes in the second half
I felt like early on I passed up a couple and penetrated.  Coach told me that I had space and I could knock them down.  I was able to get my feet ready quick and shoot t quick because they’re a long team and you have to be able to get your shot off quick against them.

It was great to beat them here – in our home.  And the way the crowd supported us was great. 

On attacking the Syracuse zone
Coach has been preaching to us all week that we need to get in the middle, try to split the gaps, get in the gaps, and create open shots or get your own shot off.  We knew that if we just stood around the perimeter and jack-bombed threes we were going to lose.  We took the game plan and came out on top. 

The big games that we face, we call them our championship games because we can’t go to the post-season.  When we played them we were turned-up.  The energy was there.  I felt the intensity the practice before the game and the shoot-around.  I knew were going to come out and have a great game.

Does it feel good to play the role of spoiler?
It feels great because they came in with their swag, their attitude, and they thought they were going to blow us out of the gym.  We hit them first.  In the second half they thought they were going to make a run and we responded.  It was a team effort.  It was a great win. 

Is it realistic to challenge for the regular season title?
It’s realistic because anybody can lose in the Big East…We feel like we’re supposed to be here. 

What would it mean to win the regular season Big East Championship?
It would everything considering that they tried to take everything from us.  

On the alley-oops
Any time you can get a dunk or an alley-oop the intensity picks up tremendously, the crowd, the team.  It makes every want to play defense harder, rebound.  Any chance I can get to make a play like that I love it. 

What were you thinking about the crowd rushing the court?
I was thinking if these people rush this court, I’m getting out of here.  I’m not that big.  I can’t have everybody jumping on me.

On hugging your mom after the game
It really hit her deep.  She was there the three times we lost to them last year.  She was really excited.

On Omar hitting the three pointers in the second half
You know, Omar, he’s full of himself.  He’s got a lot of confidence. 

Freshman Forward Philip Nolan

On getting a chance to make a difference:
“I work hard in practice no matter what happens but I felt pretty sure that my chance was going to come, and it came tonight.

On being ready for the game tonight:
“Practice was pretty beneficial. Tyler Olander worked with me a lot during the practice to get me ready for the game. He taught me the correct way to box out and really helped me out.”

On the added pressure of a tough opponent:
“I pretty much looked at this as a regular game. I did everything like I normally do, and didn’t want to make a big deal about it. I just tried to stay focused. “

Junior Guard/Forward Niels Giffey

On how the Huskies were able to pull out a win:
“It was our energy level and our passion. Our fans definitely helped us the whole way. I think we overcame a bunch of challenges and changed our game a little bit.

On stepping up when the team needed it:
“With Enosch Wolf out, DeAndre, Tyler and myself realized that we had to step up. That’s what this team is made off. We have some guys that can make those types of moves.”

On beating a top-10 ranked team:
“It means a lot that we won, but it means more to be able to beat Syracuse. It’s a nice way to end the series for sure.”

Sophomore Guard Ryan Boatright 

On how the team felt about pulling off an upset:
“It’s realistic because anybody can lose in the Big East. You can lose easily to any other team you go up against. We really should be in first or tied for second, and we let two or three games slip that we should have won.  That’s what comes from the growing pains.”

On games he felt the team should have won:
“We lost to Marquette and St. John’s; we let those both go. I feel that the only game we really lost this year was the Louisville game, the other games we lost ourselves. We feel like we are supposed to be here and that we have shocked a lot of people.

On what it would mean to win the regular season championship:
“It would mean everything. We knew that they would try to take everything from us and bury us. For us to come out and play with pride and play for UConn, the best thing we can do to show them is to win the regular season title.”

February 13, 2013
Connecticut vs. Syracuse
Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim

I thought Connecticut did a tremendous job in terms of getting into the middle and getting the ball out to the three-point shooters.  They made all the key shots in the second half run there. 

Our defense was good, but it broke down at the last second.  We didn’t get the defensive rebound.  They got the ball to the open shooters and they knocked them down.

Boatright made a couple to start the second half that I thought were really difficult.

They got a couple of really good looks in the run and I thought that was the difference.

Both teams played unbelievably hard and battled.  But I just thought they made some shots.  Big shots.

They shot eight for 14 from the three, which is the best anybody’s shot against us in a long time.  And we didn’t shoot so well. 

I think Connecticut has proven that they’re a really good basketball team.  Their guards played extremely well, but I thought all their guys played well tonight.

On end of conference games with UConn

It’s been a great series.  Connecticut and Syracuse have had so many great games over the years….The league wasn’t able to be kept together.  I feel bad about the whole thing.

On playing UConn in the future

We’re open to playing anybody….Your biggest rivalries are going to be the teams in your league.  That’s just the way it is….Even if you play somebody, it will never be the same.  It will never be the same. 

On Brandon Triche

Good players have bad nights.  He’ll bounce back.

On UConn’s guard play and Omar Calhoun

Their guards just did a great job of getting in the lane and getting him open and he knocked them down.

On Kevin Ollie

I think Kevin’s done an unbelievable job….He’s just done a tremendous job.  You can see that based on all the games they’ve played.  They’re in every game.  They’ve won big games.  They’ve played hard, played together, all year.