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Post-game breakdown, video: Maine

By Gavin Keefe

Publication: theday.com

Published December 07. 2013 4:00AM

Doubt that many people predicted UConn would be 9-0 at the exam break.

The Huskies just keep winning.

They mauled Maine, 95-68, on Friday night at the XL Center.

They started a bit slow before roaring to life about midway through the first half. They had a 23-point lead at halftime and led by as many as 39 in the second half.

“That’s an awfully good basketball team that’s going to do a lot of damage as they go forward throughout the season,”Maine coach Ted Woodward said.

Here’s a post-game breakdown and video:

 -- Check out the attached video of coach Kevin Ollie’s press conference. Sorry for the few shaky spots.

 -- The Huskies converted a season-high 14 3-pointers. That’s one shy of tying program record for 3-pointers in a game. They had 15 against Hartford in 1997,

In the last two games, UConn has hit an impressive 25 shots from beyond the arc.

“It’s really execution and making sure you take the right shot, “senior Niels Giffey explained of his team’s 3-point shooting prowess.

Both DeAndre Daniels and Lasan Kromah each went 3-for-3 from distance.

The Huskies shot 53.3 percent overall, 56 percent from three.

-- All 12 scholarship players scored on Friday. Junior Ryan Boatright (17), Daniels (16), sophomore Omar Calhoun (16) and Giffey (12) hit double figures.

“Everybody came in and made an impact on the game,” coach Kevin Ollie said.

Calhoun ended a streak of five straight games without reaching 10 points. He had made just 7 of his last 31 shots prior to Friday’s game.

He took a team-high 12 shots, sinking five.

“I knew I was going to have to shoot my way out of the funk that I was in,” Calhoun said.

 -- Senior Shabazz Napier joined an elite club. He became the fourth Husky to pile up 1,000 points and 500 assists in his career. Doron Sheffer, Taliek Brown and Tate George are the others.

Napier focused on setting up his teammates against Maine, dishing out eight assists. He also had seven points, five rebounds and four steals in 22 minutes.

-- Ollie rested his starters for the majority of the season half. Freshman Kentan Facey took advantage of his extra playing time to grab a career-best nine rebounds and also had four points in career-high 18 minutes.

“One person I’m very proud of is Kentan, stepping up,” Ollie said. “He’s one of the guys who hasn’t been getting a lot of playing time. … It’s not all about the game, it’s about his attitude and how he’s preparing. That shows you that he’s ready.”

 -- Remember last year when UConn used to freeze up against a zone defense?

Not anymore.

Add Maine to the growing list of teams that failed to slow down the Huskies by playing zone. Boatright and Napier are doing a good job penetrating the zone and then kicking it back out to open shooters.

“We played against it so much last year that we figured out how to do it and what we need to do to beat (zone) and make them come out of it,” Boatright said.

The Huskies also have more perimeter weapons than last year.

 -- Ollie said the Huskies played a “great game.” His only complaint had to do with his team’s free throw shooting. They converted just 17 of 28, or 60.7 percent.

 -- Daniels missed just one shot all night, and that came from the foul line. He went 6-for-6 from the field and 1-for-2 from the free throw line.

 -- Freshman center Amida Brimah had a typical stat line for him – four blocks, three points, two rebounds and three fouls.

 -- About the only surprise of the night came in the opening five minutes when Maine grabbed an 8-5 lead. The rest of the game belonged to the Huskies.

 -- UConn improved to 18-0 against former Jim Calhoun assistant coaches. Woodward served on Calhoun’s staff from 1986-89.

-- Former UConn center Jake Voskuhl attended the game.

 -- The Huskies are off for a 12-day exam break, returning to action on Dec. 18 when they host Stanford.

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