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UConn/Merrimack Postgame Quotes

Oct. 31, 2017

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Kevin Ollie, Head Coach

Opening Statement

"We had a real good effort to start the game. We had 70 points in the paint. I think we had that many points in the paint because we couldn't make a shot from outside. Really love us getting the ball inside. I thought [freshman forward] Isaiah [Whaley] came in and had a great game energy wise. Our bench was good, everybody was connected. 18 assists. Things I wasn't pleased about, 17 turnovers and 14 offensive rebounds but they did execute the scout and we played way better defense against a team that runs a lot of two cutters and one cutters like the Michigan offense, so I was very proud of the guys executing the scouts. It's just a building block for us, we're going to keep getting better. We've got a day off tomorrow, hopefully they take care of their bodies and we'll come back Wednesday and keep working. I'm just kind of proud of the guys how they handled themselves out there today and everybody that came in off the bench, 35 points from my bench, I thought that was a big deal that we've been having this problem."

On redshirt junior guard/forward Terry Larrier

"I'm just glad to see the ball go in for him, he's doing a great job coming in working. [Assistant Coach] DK [Dwayne Killings] is getting him every day. He's coming in getting a routine which is great. Then just seeing him getting in the passing lane, being explosive out there so just like I said it's just a work in progress. Every step we're just getting better and better and better. We have to understand that he hasn't played basketball in two years pretty much so we just want to make sure we take it easy with him. Don't put too much pressure on him and the biggest thing, that he doesn't put too much pressure on himself, I mean he'll do it all in one game. Just take his time keep working and good things are going to happen for him but I was just proud to see the ball go in for him."

On redshirt freshman forward Mamadou Diarra

"I mean you saw it. Just rebounding and doing what Mamadou does. He played the zone the whole game so I was just pleased how we handled the zone and played behind the zone and I think that's what Mamadou did, played behind the zone, [sophomore forward] Kwintin [Williams] played behind the zone, Isaiah played behind the zone. So that's a good thing that we've been working on those guys."

On this year's team

"Just a work in progress. Everyday we're just trying to get better. We've got pretty much 11 new guys on the team so we're just focusing on doing small things that's going to lead to the big things. We just have to continue to do that, execute each and every day, keep challenging each other, make sure we play together and share the basketball. I think we did that, we had 18 assists I was very proud of that against the zone but I wasn't proud of the 17 turnovers so we've got to cut that down a little bit."

Mamadou Diarra

On improvement from last game:

"Last game I got into a lot of foul trouble so I tried to play a lot smarter and play with a lot of energy. I played off the bench this time around so I wanted to bring a lot of energy off the bench."

On what they worked on in practice:

"We worked on defense a lot and rebounding. All around we didn't play too well offensively against Providence. We didn't shoot that well this time around either, but we got in the paint a lot and scored a lot in the paint so I feel like that's what helped us today."

Terry Larrier

On points in the paint:

"Yeah that was definitely the game plan. Use our size to our advantage on a smaller team. It was an easy way for me to get baskets and get a groove going."

On playing against zone defense:

"Yeah I think we are going to have to play against zone a lot. Me getting in the middle of the floor being able to make plays and get guys open and also score, that would be really good for us."

Isaiah Whaley

On difference from this game from last game:

"We tried to slow it down more and try to punch it inside more because last game we were noticing that every miss and long three we missed, the other team was going on fast breaks, so we were trying to punch it in and at least we would have a short rebound so we could get it back."

On 70 points in the paint for the team:

"Yeah that was the main game plan. We were playing against a smaller team so it was about pounding it inside and trying to take advantage of our size."