You wouldn’t catch Kevin Ollie saying that.
No, that quote is from Ryan Boatright and Omar Calhoun, both of whom enormous in UConn’s 66-58 upset of No. 6 Syracuse, the final meeting between the schools as Big East members.
Let’s get right into links, notes and quotes from the XL Center:
*There were two facets that made all the difference Wednesday: UConn’s 3-point shooting and its defense (rebounding was pretty good, as well). The Huskies were a remarkable 8-for-14 from deep. They hit four 3s in a span of 4:13 to open up 55-46 lead. And you have to hand it to the UConn big men, too. DeAndre Daniels pulled down eight rebounds — when he’s active, UConn usually wins — and reserve Phil Nolan looked aggressive, corralling five boards against a physically-imposing ‘Cuse frontcourt.
*Michael Carter-Williams, the leading assist man in the nation (8.5 per game), was held to just one helper, a season-low. His backcourt mate, Brandon Triche, was a horrendous 3-for-15 from the floor. Together, they were 0-for-10 on 3-pointers.
“Our guards, it starts and stops with them,” Ollie said. “And they played tremendous defense. You see a guy like Michael Carter-Williams, a great player, get one assist. And we hold a team with so much talent to 35 percent, it really shows the hard work and dedication they put in.”
*UConn is now 7-4 in the league, one game behind Syracuse for first place.
“We’re just one of the purest teams playing right now,” Ollie said.
*Wednesday’s win was Ollie’s first over a top 10 team. He joked afterward that Michigan State, now ranked No. 8 in both polls, counts anyway.
“Michigan State, they’re like No. 3, so I’m counting them,” he said with a laugh. “This is a big-time win, but we can’t have a letdown. We can’t lay on our success.”
*It was evident that Syracuse was not letting Shabazz Napier beat it as a scorer, so the junior point guard became a distributor. He netted 10 points on just six field goal attempts and handed out a game-high seven assists.