It was late night and a bad night for the UConn Huskies.
Coach Kevin Ollie was ejected for the first time in his two seasons as head coach. He received two technical fouls and missed the final 13 minutes of Saturday’s American Athletic Conference game at Gampel Pavilion.
“I lost my composure,” Ollie said.
He really didn’t miss anything.
UConn played harder after Ollie left but still lost, 76-64, to No. 18 Louisville, which dominated play under the basket.
Senior Shabazz Napier was the only real bright spot for the Huskies, scoring a career high 30 points. He went seven for 15 from the field. The rest of the team converted only 12 of 39 (31 percent).
The loss ended UConn’s three game winning streak. The Huskies fell to 14-4, 2-3.
Check out the attached video of Ollie’s post-game remarks that includes his comments on the play that upset him and led to his ejection.
Some post-game news, notes and quotes:
-- The Huskies have lost seven out of the last eight in the series, including three straight at Gampel Pavilion.
-- Coach Rick Pitino thought that Ollie’s ejection hurt Louisville. The Cardinals went on a 7-0 run after the two technical fouls. But the Gampel Pavilion crowd did rise up once again to support the Huskies.
“We had momentum and we let the crowd get in the game,” Pitino said. “Especially Kevin Ollie, you don’t ever want to see him get thrown out. Jim Calhoun you want to see get thrown out. I’m only kidding so make sure you tell Jim that.”
When Pitino coached BostonUniversity and Calhoun was at Northeastern, they were fierce rivals and never got along.
-- Napier scored 30 points despite being the focus of Louisville’s defensive game plan.
Junior DeAndre Daniels, on the other hand, never recovered from early foul trouble and had a poor offensive game, finishing with three points on 1-for-9 from the field. He scored 23 points in a win at No. 17 Memphis Thursday.
“We wanted to get Shabazz out of the game,” Pitino said. “DeAndre you can play because he’s not as good off the bounce.”
-- Entering the game, Daniels had scored in double figures a career-high tying five straight games. He scored his only basket just 27 seconds into the game and then missed his next eight shots. He played just six minutes in the first half because of foul trouble.
“His sitting on the bench hurt the rotation,” Ollie said. “But at the end of the day, he played the second half, and he’s got to play better.”
-- After out-rebounding three straight opponents for the first time in Ollie’s tenure as a head coach, UConn lost the battle of the boards by a convincing 45-30 margin. The Cardinals also had 16 offensive boards compared to just eight for the Huskies.
“It came down to them out-rebounding us by 15,” Ollie said. “We’re been doing a good job the last three games getting those timely rebounds, getting those 50-50 balls and getting those touches. We didn’t do that tonight. That was the ball game.”
Freshman Amida Brimah had a team-high five rebounds for the Huskies.
-- The atmosphere at Gampel Pavilion was terrific. Students started camping out on Friday.
“This was a great atmosphere,” Pitino said. “I’ve been toConnecticutmany, many times and this is the best atmosphere I’ve seen at this place. … It was a tough atmosphere. … We knew we were going to have to bring our A game and our guys did.”
-- Associate head coach Glen Miller took over when Ollie went to the locker room. Miller was a head coach at Penn, Brown and Connecticut College.
-- Napier took the high road when asked about the officiating, which was spotty.
"It was tough, but the refs did a great job," Napier said. "They did what they were supposed to do. We've just got to continue to learn how to play."
-- UConn didn’t start attacking Louisville’s match-up zone until the second half. When the Huskies became more aggressive, they earned trips to the foul line. After taking just two free throws in the first half, they had 19 attempts after intermission, making 16.
-- Boatright is heading home today to Aurora, Ill., to be with his family during a difficult time. His cousin, 20-year-old Arin Williams, died on Monday.
"It's been rough, man," Boatright said. "I really haven't had any sleep. He's constantly on my mind and I'm just trying to focus on basketball when I can."
-- Next up: UConn hosts Temple on Tuesday at the XL Center in Hartford.