Rutgers coach Mike Rice said there was a discussion on the bus ride to Storrs about which conference had the best backcourts.
Big East, no contest, Rice insisted.
On Sunday, he got a look at one of the league’s finest in Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright and Omar Calhoun.
Napier, still dealing with the left shoulder contusion suffered against Louisville, hit two huge 3-pointers to open up a seven-point lead late in the second half.
After struggling versus Pittsburgh, Napier was back to his old self: 19 points, six assists, five rebounds and a trio of shot-clock buzzer-beaters.
“The game is slow to him,” Rice said. “When he wants to go fast, he goes fast. When he wants to get a shot, he gets a shot. He doesn’t rush things. From last year, he has really matured in his approach and how he runs his team.”
Other notes, quotes and links from Sunday:
*Aside from Jerome Seagears (career-best 21 points), Rutgers was downright dreadful offensively. I’m talking 14-for-41 from the field and 1-for-11 from 3 dreadful.
*Niels Giffey gave the Huskies a lift defensively. His 3-point play in the early second half broke a 32-32 tie and injected some energy into a flat UConn squad.
“When I look up ‘versatility’ in the dictionary, I see Niels Giffey’s picture by it,” Ollie said. ” I call on him to play the 3, the 4, 2, 1. He just steps up and does it.”
*DeAndre Daniels became aggressive late in the second half. He finished with 13 points and seven boards. Now, it’s a matter of doing it again.
“We were plus-four on the backboards, which I love to see, and we held them under 40 percent, which I love to see,” Ollie said. ” So that’s improvement. Now we have to be consistent, and start stringing it together.”