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    UCONNHUSKIESDOTCOM

    March 5, 2014

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    UConn Head Coach Kevin Ollie

    I want to thank my seniors for providing me with loyalty and being faithful to this program. They could have left. They could have transferred. They could have done a lot of things. But they said "We're going to stay through the tough times and we're going to get back to where we belong." They kept this program alive. I owe them a lot. I can never repay them for what they gave me - a chance to coach them. It's just been a blessing.

    For Niels (Giffey) to get his career-high in points and for all the seniors who played on that 2011 team to go 16 for 25 is remarkable. They saved their best for last.

    Rutgers came in and shot very well. They played their type of game and they played their pace but at the end of the day we made stops and we got a win. I'll take 24 and 6 going into Louisville.

    It was just a wonderful, special moment to get this win. Hopefully, we'll be back here in April celebrating.

    On emotion of Senior Night for Shabazz Napier

    We just talked about that it's a great milestone but at the end of the day you have to play basketball. You've got to lead this team. And that's what he did. We're going to have emotional games coming up where we're going to have to just continue to play and not get wrapped up in all of the emotion.

    On Napier

    He was locked in. He was focused.

    On defense and rebounding

    We've got to get back to our defense. Our defense wasn't locked in like it was with Cincinnati. We need to rebound better. These are some things that we're going work on before we get to Louisville.

    Player Quotes

    Senior guard Shabazz Napier

    Are you proud of this group of seniors?

    I'm definitely proud. I knew we were going to come out and try to play our best game. It's a special feeling when you're a senior and it's your last game at home. You want to give it your all, and I think that's what everyone did.

    Was it difficult to play after the Senior Night ceremony?

    I was excited to come out and play. I told the guys, `Even though it's senior day, we have to come out and play the same way. We have to play the game we know how to play.' But it was definitely a special moment. I was just so focused on playing that I was just ready to get out there. The guys thought I was going to be the first to cry, but I told them it's not like last year when I knew that was our last game.

    On Niels Giffey hitting his career-high in points

    Niels was open for a lot of shots and we're willing to give him the ball and he was willing to knock down shots.

    On the issues the team has had scoring to close out games

    Offensively, we have to figure it out when it comes down the stretch. I cannot stress enough that defense is going to help us continue to win games. We're not going to make a lot of shots, but as long as we continue to work hard and play good defense down the stretch it gives us a great shot to win the game.

    On your Mom's emotions during Senior Night

    It was definitely a special moment. She's been with me throughout my whole entire life. And for her to see her child grow up and to see the fans cheering him on, of course that's going to bring tears to her eyes. That's something big to her - to see her son doing something positive with his life. That's all she cares about.

    Senior forward Niels Giffey

    On Senior Night

    As a senior sometimes you have to work with those emotions. We were so pumped up and hyped up for this game it was just easier to play for us.

    On the career-high in points on Senior Night

    That's really the perfect end for me playing here in Gampel. I was really carried by the emotions we had, my mom being here and a lot of friends being here. I really just felt all the love from the fans and all the support they gave me. That was really moving for me. So it's easy to give that back on the court.

    On the defense at the end of the game

    Phil (Nolan) is always in the right spot at the right time to take these charges and DeAndre (Daniels) has big time blocks at the end of games.

    Senior forward Tyler Olander

    On Senior Night

    It was just fun playing with them knowing it was our last time on this court in front of these fans.

    Was it emotional for you tonight?

    It is. This group has been so special. We've made friendships that will definitely carry on way past basketball. I'm sad to say goodbye to Gampel and to the fans that give their all. They're out there waiting in the cold all winter long just to see you play. I wish I could tell them more how much I appreciate them. Playing in Gampel is just unbelievable. It's something that I'll miss.

     

     

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