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UConn coach Kevin Ollie and his Huskies met with the media after practice Wednesday at Gampel Pavilion.
Cincinnati visits the XL Center Thursday night. It will be UConn’s final game in Hartford this season.
Check out the attached video for Ollie’s remarks.
Some news, notes and quotes from practice:
-- The post-practice talk dealt with several topics, including bouncing back from a disappointing performance on Saturday.
“It was disappointing because we dropped the ball,” sophomore Ryan Boatright said. “We had played so well against Syracuse and we played so bad (versus Villanova). I feel like we owe ourselves and the fans a better performance.”
-- UConn faces another Big East team with a talented backcourt. Sean Kilpatrick (18.0), Cashmere Wright (13.3) and JaQuon Parker (10.9) lead the Bearcats in scoring.
“Every (Big East) team has got great guards…,” Ollie said. “You can go right down the list. We’re going to have to come in and make sure we contain the dribble and play hard and play with effort and play with the attitude that will allow us to come out on top.”
-- The backcourt of Boatright and Shabazz Napier will have to play better for the Huskies than they did in Saturday’s loss. They combined for six points and 10 turnovers.
Boatright spent Tuesday watching game film.
“I felt so bad about it I went in there and really, really studied and watched every single play over and over again,” Boatright said.
For more about Boatright’s film session check out my story in Thursday’s paper and on the website.
-- Napier had an interesting theory about UConn’s rebounding woes against Villanova, which owned a 41-25 edge.
“Last game there was too much pressure to get rebounds,” Napier said. “The whole week was just stressing about rebounds. I felt like there was too much pressure put on all the big guys just to rebound. Too much (pressure) on certain people, it weighs them down and they’re not capable of playing the way they can play because they’re so worried about rebounding.
“We want Tyler (Olander) to score and play good defense but we want him to rebound. But we stressed it too much and it weighed him down a little bit. It weighed DeAndre down a little bit.”
If Napier and Boatright produced offensively, rebounding and turnovers would have never been an issue, according to Napier.
“I just think because me and Boat didn’t play so well offensively, rebounding and turnovers became a big deal.”
-- UConn has been a terrific free throw shooting team this season. In Big East action, the Huskies are tied for first with Syracuse at 75.3 percent.
“They’re doing a great job concentrating, getting there, and knocking it down, “Ollie said. “That’s how we’ve been overcoming our rebounding issues, knocking down free throws, shooting a good percentage and a low turnover rate.”
Niels Giffey (88 percent), Omar Calhoun (80.0), Napier (78.2) and DeAndre Daniels (75) are the team’s top free throw shooters overall.
-- Reserve Leon Tolksdorf made an unexpected splash by sinking two 3-pointers versus Villanova. Could that lead to more minutes for him on Thursday?
“I don’t go in and say Leon is going to play a set amount of minutes,” Ollie said. “It’s a feel thing. I thought we needed a spark. I brought Leon in and I wanted some effort and he contributed.
“He’s making my drive back (home) to Glastonbury a little more interesting.”
-- Former Husky Donny Marshall practiced with the team on Wednesday. He wore No. 23, playing the scout team role of Kilpatrick.
-- For regular updates, follow me on Twitter @GavinKeefe
Today’s American Athletic Conference Championship semifinal doubleheader is underway here at the XL Center in Hartford. A crowd in the 12,000-13,000 range is expected for the UConn-Tulsa game. Tip-off time is 5 p.m.