Great line from Hartford Courant columnist Jeff Jacobs, who led his story like this: “Flush with a most fruitful victory over a ranked team on the road, Kevin Ollie, that noted farmer out of South Central Los Angeles, was talking about reaping what is sewn.”
In Ollie’s words, “I always talk about time, seed and harvest. The seed goes first. Then you have the time. Then you have a harvest. (Tyler Olander) is not finished yet, but I really enjoyed his harvest today. He has been putting the time in. He has been putting the seed in. No matter what we say to him, no matter if we take him out of the starting lineup. He comes out the next practice and works his butt off.”
Indeed, this day was about Tyler Olander and his career-high 16 points. UConn exploited a matchup against 6-foot-8 guard Scott Martin early in the second half, and even when bruiser Jack Cooley guarded Olander, the 6-foot-9 Mansfield native still had success.
Overall, Olander was 8-for-9 from the field with seven rebounds and a crucial block on Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant that preserved the victory.
UConn doesn’t win without him. It doesn’t win without Shabazz Napier, either.
Passed over by the Bob Cousy Award committee, Napier, who scored a game-high 19 points, was the subject of my column. In case you were wondering (and I was), yes, he can dunk.
Other notes/quotes from Saturday in South Bend:
*UConn snapped a 12-game win streak for the Irish. The Huskies seem to have a habit of doing this: In 2009, they dealt Notre Dame its first home loss in 46 games. Last season, a 29-game winning streak at Purcell Pavilion was cut short, too. Notre Dame is 46-2 in its last 48 times on its home floor. Both losses were to UConn.
*DeAndre Daniels had a goose egg in the first half, but responded with eight points and nine rebounds in the second.
“DeAndre got a beautiful rebound over everybody and just jumped out and used his long reach to get nine rebounds,” Ollie said. “I know he got two or three of them down the stretch and got a big block against (Jerian) Grant. We needed everybody today and everybody came in and played. Don’t forget about R.J.’s (Evans) big offensive rebound.”
*Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said the Napier to Boatright alley-oop was big for momentum.
“They came right back and executed that back-screen lob, and when they answer you like that it’s demoralizing,” Brey said. “It took a lot of energy to guard them throughout the game so offensively you don’t have a lot of juice sometimes. I think maybe we should have played some more zone.”