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Postgame Quotes

Feb. 21, 2013

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

It was a great, gutty win.  I didn’t know, in the second half, who was going to score first.  I thought whoever was going to score first was going to win the game.  Fortunately, we won.  The overtime was terrific.  Second half we had 18 points and in overtime we had 18 points.  A great win by us.

It was a great team victory.  I’m proud of the guys.  They hung in there and they fought.  It was a grind-it-out game and we proved that we can win these types of games, once again.

When we gave up offensive rebounds, we didn’t hang our heads again.  We got back in a fight.  And that’s what I love about this team:  They get back in a fight and they keep punching and keep punching.  They’re just a remarkable team.  I can’t say enough about them.

On crowd

The last XL game, and I think the fans were absolutely wonderful.  They kept us going, they kept us in it.  When we were down four points, they were cheering just like we were up 20.  So I really just want to take a time out to say how much I really appreciate these wonderful fans.  Hopefully we can close out Gampel with two home wins.

On Boatright

He grew and he matured.  He had his head down in the last game because he wasn’t shooting the ball well.  This game, he picked up and he took Cashmere Wright out of the game in the second half.  He stepped up and he grew up. 

On Napier

Shabazz was spectacular.  Just the shots that he makes in overtime.  Whenever we need a big shot he’s right there.  And he has no fear….He’s a leader who has no fear of failure.  And that’s a great thing when you have a guy on your team that plays with that passion, but also is not scared and not fearful of failing….

On Napier’s late game success

He just likes the big moments.  And it goes back to him having that self-confidence and that belief system.  It’s a physiology with him.  It’s a mind state.  In that overtime, he just thinks he can make the shot.  And I think he just wills himself to make those….I was going to put the ball in his hands.  At the end of regulation and in overtime, he was going to have the ball in his hands because he was going to make right decisions for us. 

On Omar Calhoun

He’s just growing up in front of our eyes each and every game.  By getting those tough rebounds and 50-50 balls….It’s been a beautiful thing to watch, just his evolution as a player.  He still has room for improvement, but he’s getting better and better. 

On Daniels

He gave us big time minutes.  Big time shots, when we were down four he hit that three when Shabazz made that wonderful pass off a high ball screen.  The toughness that he showed was just great.

Player Quotes
UConn v. Cincinnati
February 22, 2013

Shabazz Napier

On his play in overtime

I just have a more aggressive attitude toward the game in overtime.  I feel like my team needs me much more and I just want to take some shots and have confidence in my shots and just knock them down for my teammates.

Can you talk about the play when you tied the game in the last minute

Tyler set a great screen and they were looking for me to go to the right, but I saw it open on the left side.  I was thinking about pulling up, but I figured I’d try to create contact and get a foul and try to make the shot.  But luckily I was able to make the leaner and was able to tie the game up.

Did you think you had the shot to win the game at the end of regulation?

I definitely thought I had the last one after Boatright played tremendous defense on Cashmere.  We dribbled it down to 5 seconds, even though I heard the crowd going crazy tell me to hurry-up and go, but Coach Ollie told me to wait to 5 seconds and go so we could make sure we got the last shot.  I felt like I had an easy layup.  It just rolled out of the rim and DeAndre and I tussled for the ball, but we were unable to put another shot up.

Coach Ollie says you’re fearless.  Do you feel that way in those big spots?

I just think guys are looking for me in the big time.  I think guys understand that I try to be the best leader for this team and look for me to hit down those shots.  I’m just lucky my teammates have so much confidence in me.

On DeAndre Daniels’ game tonight

He did a lot of things.  He was a stat sheet stuffer in many ways – blocks, defensive rebounds, deflections, scoring.  He did a lot of things we normally see him do in practice.  It’s for it to show in a great game.  I hope he continues to believe in himself as much as he did in this game here – hitting down threes, making those free throws at the end.  I think he contributed so much to this game.

On Coach Ollie believing that you should be considered for Big East Player of the Year

No, I think if they had a Big East Team of the Year it should be us.  I think without my teammates I wouldn’t be scoring.  I wouldn’t be doing much.  This team is just tremendously intertwined with each other.  I don’t look for individual awards.

DeAndre Daniels

On going on a scoring drought for almost 9 minutes in the 2nd half

We weren’t able to knock down shots, but we got stops at the other end so that’s what kept us in the game.

I’m getting more comfortable in conference play.  My teammates were looking for me, I was open, and I was able to knock down my shots.

Ryan Boatright

On DeAndre Daniels’ game after being benched early on

A lot of us have really matured since last year.  DeAndre did a great job today by handling that and with his attitude.  And he’s just going to keep growing.  More praise to him because he came back in and made a difference when he could have hung his head down, caught an attitude, and things could have gone another way than they did tonight.

On looking forward to playing DePaul in Chicago this weekend

It’ll be great to be in my hometown and see a lot of family and friends I haven’t seen in a while.

On Shabazz Napier’s play in overtime

It’s good to see a teammate doing so well and making great big plays.  It was good to watch him do that and flourish in those moments.

It was a huge win because we got right back on track going into DePaul.  It would have been devastating for us to drop two straight, especially considering this is our last XL (Center) game of the year and we really wanted to leave our fans with something good to remember.

UConn Men’s Basketball vs. Cincinnati
Cincinnati Coach Mick Cronin
February 22, 2013

On Napier’s performance in OT

It should have never come to that.  We had three possessions [in regulation], I know for sure, with the lead and the ball. [We] had a turnover and two horrible three point shots and JaQuon Parker beating his man off the dribble whenever he wants and we shoot it before we can give him a chance to drive the ball…….We had a two point lead [in regulation] and we knew the play they were going to run for Shabazz Napier and we tried to send him left…..We had inexcusable mistakes and that erases all the good we’re doing…… In overtime, Napier did that to us last year but we won anyway.  The scouting report says he’s a streaky shooter.  When he made the first one I understand but not the second and third one.

We’ve got to learn how to play with the lead down the stretch especially with veteran guys who are capable of beating their man. If we could beat them off the dribble, they couldn’t keep us off the backboard. If you turn it over, you can’t rebound it.

All eight of our losses are the same.  It’s Groundhog Day.

On Kevin Ollie

Kevin and I have developed a great friendship.  I talked to him a lot in the last year about taking over the program.  We recruited a lot of the same guys and sat together.  Obviously, he’s the nicest guy in the world.  We’re going to try to spend some time playing golf this summer.