Feb. 13, 2014
By Marya Fratoni
UConn men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie is thrilled about his team’s current momentum following the Huskies 83-40 win over USF on Wednesday night at the XL Center.
The Huskies, ranked 24th in the country, have now won four of their last five games and eight of their last ten – due in large part to a reenergized defense that has been relentless. UConn now stands at 19-5 on the season and 7-4 in the American Athletic Conference – which has five ranked teams in this week’s top 25 as no league has more in the country.
That defense was on display on Wednesday night as UConn held the Bulls to just 24 percent shooting -- the lowest for a Connecticut opponent this season. Freshman center Amida Brimah (Accra, Ghana), who recorded six blocks to go along with nine points, was once again the driving force behind the defensive effort. He has led UConn in blocks 18 times this season and on Wednesday, he provided a spark for the Huskies on both sides of the floor in the game’s opening minutes.
Brimah opened the game with back-to-back dunks that gave the Huskies early momentum, which they maintained throughout the game. The center’s confidence was evident throughout the game and he continues to prove himself on a team that has allowed just over 50 points a game in its last four contests.
“I want to keep this momentum going,” Ollie said. “I want to make sure we play defense and bring their locks. That’s kind of our motto right now. We want to be on lockdown defense.”
Wednesday’s game also saw the emergence of freshman forward Kentan Facey (Trelawny, Jamaica), who netted a career-high 10 points and grabbed four rebounds. The Huskies will now look for even more from Facey, who continues to put effort into weight lifting and working with the strength and conditioning staff to become more of a physical threat.
“A performance like this proves to the coach that we need to have more depth,” said Facey. “We have guys who have been working hard and can come in and produce for us.”
Ollie was also happy that every player that stepped on the court was able to put points on the board. The Huskies passed up certain shots in order to create better scoring opportunities for others, which made Wednesday’s victory a true team effort.
“Everyone tried to move the ball,” Facey said. “We were able to get other teammates great shots, and I think that’s what accounted for everyone doing their part in this win.”