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No. 19 UConn accomplished everything on its checklist on Thursday night.
The Huskies (3-0) scored high marks on offense and defense, won the rebounding battle (49-34), shared the basketball and cruised to a 101-55 victory overDetroit in the opening game of the 2K Sports Classic.
“It was a great game,” coach Kevin Ollie said.
Some post-game notes, quotes, news and video:
-- Check out the attached video of Ollie’s press conference.
-- The Huskies are deeper than any UConn team in recent years.
Reserves almost out-scored Detroit, combining for 47 points. That’s 22 points more than their highest single game total last season.
“It’s great to have the depth that we have,” Ollie said.
Senior Niels Giffey earned top reserve honors, equaling his career-high for the second straight game with 15 points. He is averaging 14.3 points per game – all of his points have come in the first half.
Senior Shabazz Napier predicted during pre-game that Giffey would score 15 points – all in the first half.
“Everybody laughed,” junior Ryan Boatright said of the team’s reaction when Napier made his prediction. “We didn’t think he was serious. He actually did it. That was crazy.”
-- Giffey has improved more than any player on the team. He’s shooting the ball incredibly well.
Against Detroit, he went 5-for-6 from the field, including 3-for-4 from 3-point land. He’s shooting a sizzling 83.3 percent (15-for-18) overall and 84.6 percent (11-for-13) from beyond the arc.
It’s gotten to the point where fans are surprised when he misses.
“That’s a great thing, right?” Giffey said. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”
-- The Huskies are shooting well as a team, converting 51.7, 56.5 and 57.4 percent in the first three games.
-- UConn had a balanced scoring attack, as six players scored in double figures. Sophomore Omar Calhoun led the way with 17 points while Giffey, Boatright (12), DeAndre Daniels (11), Napier (10) and Tyler Olander (10) also made offensive contributions. Both Daniels and Olander each had a season-high for points.
You have to go back to 2005 to find the last time more than six players scored in double figures for the Huskies. Seven players scored in a 129-61 win overMoreheadStateon Dec. 23.
-- The Huskies hit 100 points for the first time since beating Chattanooga, 103-47, in a 2009 NCAA second round game in Philadelphia. Associate head coach George Blaney filled in head coach Jim Calhoun, who fell ill and went to the hospital.
-- Juwan Howard, Jr., Detroit’s best player, scored his team's first eight points in the first 4:22 before UConn shut him down. He didn’t score again until the final nine seconds of the first half and finished with 14 on 7-for-16 shooting.
"They started denying him and made him work and had a big emphasis on him...," Detroit coach Ray McCallum said. "He kind of wore down with their attention to him."
-- UConn trailed for the first time this season and faced a 17-13 deficit. The Huskies out-scored the Titans, 31-13 the rest of the half to grab a 48-26 lead at the break.
Giffey, Amida Brimah and Lasan Kromah all came off the bench to help spark the turnaround.
“The game really changed when we came off the bench,” Ollie said. “Lasan played some good defense on Juwan and settled him down a little bit. Amida came in and blocked some shots.”
Brimah had four blocks overall, giving him 14 in three games.
-- UConn’s backcourt of Napier and Boatright played a terrific all-around game.
Napier fell just short of his second straight triple-double, finishing with 10 points, a team-high eight rebounds and eight assists in 22 minutes.
“I messed up Shabazz again, he was on his way to another triple-double,” Ollie said. “I had to take him out of the game.”
Boatright had 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds and played lock-down defense.
“Boat really changed the game for us,” Ollie said.
McCallum was impressed with the duo.
“We faced one of the best backcourts in the country,” McCallum said. “And they came ready to play.”
-- The Huskies had a season-high 21 assists and a season-low nine turnovers.
“That’s a great ratio for us to have every game,” Ollie said.
-- Ollie on his team’s rebounding effort: “We put bodies on box-outs and we went to get the rebounds. We were getting rebounds by the rim instead of letting them come to us.”
For the third straight game, Napier led the team in rebounding. He’s averaging 8.7 per game.
-- UConn hosts Boston University at noon Sunday at Gampel Pavilion. The Terriers are 2-0, beating Northeastern (72-69) and UMass-Lowell (91-65).
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.