UConn notebook: ‘Onions’ and getting hammered in Buffalo

A few notebook items from Friday’s media session at First Niagara Center in Buffalo. No. 7 UConn plays No. 2 Villanova at 9:40 p.m. Saturday (CBS) in the NCAA Tournament’s third round.

REMEMBER THE TIME: Shabazz Napier took a second to shake off the cobwebs when someone asked him about the game-winning 3-pointer he made against Villanova two years ago in the Wells Fargo Center. However, he never forgot one thing about the day.

“Oh, the game,” he said. “It was a close game and it was definitely a big shot. The first thing is I remember the commentator, I think his name is Bill Raftery, after I hit the shot he said “onions!

“That’s one thing I definitely remember after I watched SportsCenter that day.”

TOURNAMENT MOMENT: The first time Jay Wright led a team to Buffalo for the NCAA Tournament he was the head coach of Hofstra in 2000. It was also the same tournament site for the last game Bobby Knight would coach at Indiana.

The 14th-seeded Pride, who were led by Speedy Claxton, were crushed in their first round game against No. 3 Oklahoma State, 86-66, with Desmond Mason scoring 30 points against them.

“It was my first NCAA Tournament, a great Hofstra team,” Wright said. “We got hammered, but it was a little different then. We were still happy. We got hammered, but we were happy to be here.

“We got hammered and we got hammered after the game because we were so happy to be here.”

A NEW NUMBER THREE: Lost in the shuffle of Thursday night’s win over Saint Joe’s was Napier moving passed his coach Kevin Ollie (619) into third place all-time at UConn in assists with 625.

“Nobody remembers No. 4,” Ollie joked. “Nobody’s going to remember, it’s always one, two, three to the media (guides). That was my last ride with the media guide. I don’t think we are even doing media guides anymore.”

With Talik Brown at 772 and Tate George second at 677, Napier appears to be stuck at No. 3 for his career unless the Huskies make a deep tournament run and he’s extra generous.

Entering Saturday’s game, Napier is tied for third all-time in 3-pointers made (242) with Bridgeport product Chris Smith and is also third in free-throws made (486) behind Corny Thompson (496) and Kemba Walker (501).

William Paxton