UConn Basketball

with Kevin Duffy

Notes/Quotes from Providence: “I tell the kids all the time — go the second mile. There’s less traffic on the second mile than the first.”

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If you love Kevin Ollie catchphrases, then there’s your new favorite.

And if you love bizarre college basketball games, UConn/Providence was for you.

Omar Calhoun (AP)

You really can’t make this stuff up: UConn was outrebounded by 31 — its been 16 years since there was such a large disparity in a Big East game — and still won the game. The Huskies made big shot after big shot: DeAndre Daniels, Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright and  Omar Calhoun (the hero here) all had their moments.

Some Notes/Quotes and links from Thursday at The Dunk:

*My column: It’s a shame this UConn team can’t play in the tournament. As we saw Thursday (and many times throughout the year), these Huskies want it more than they did in 2011-12.

*Although UConn was pounded on the glass — 55-24 was the final margin, by the way — DeAndre Daniels came up with some big boards, particularly down the stretch. He had 18 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

“DeAndre was a man down there,” Ollie said.

*Shabazz Napier finished with a remarkable 18 points on five field goal attempts (now that’s efficiency). Napier was 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, canning one 3-ball to put UConn up 64-61 in regulation and another to lift the Huskies to a 76-74 lead in overtime. He also assisted on a crucial DeAndre Daniels 3-point play that tied the game, 59-59, with 4:17 remaining.

*Omar Calhoun hit the big one, a trey from the corner with 42 seconds left in overtime that gave UConn a 3-point lead.

“He’s got enough confidence,” Boatright said. “We tell him he’s got the ability to make that shot all the time, so I’m just glad he had the confidence to take it.”

*Ryan Boatright twisted his right ankle early and still managed to contribute a team-best 19 points and seven assists. His penetration on the baseline late in overtime set up Calhoun’s game-winner.

“I don’t know how we did it,” Ollie said. “But we found a way to dig deep and win a game that was all from the heart.”

*Up three on the final possession, Ollie opted not to foul. Friars guard Bryce Cotton, perhaps the best long-distance shooter in the Big East, misfired on a contested step-back 3-pointer and the Huskies survived.

“I don’t know if I’m a bad coach because I didn’t foul,” Ollie said. “At Marquette I was a bad coach because I didn’t foul. I just go with my gut and he missed the shot and we got the rebound.”

Cotton, who entered averaging 22 points per game, had 18 on 4-for-15 shooting from the field.

*New London’s Kris Dunn was mediocre, connecting on just 1-of-7 field goals and missing some pressure free throws down the stretch. He finished with seven points, eight rebounds and one assist.

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