Post-game breakdown, video: Memphis
Senior Shabazz Napier had this to say about No. 24 UConn's 86-81 overtime win over No. 20 Memphis on Saturday:
"We did what we had to do to win and more," Napier said.
Napier did his part, scoring a career-high 34 points. His backcourt partner, Ryan Boatright, scored a season-high 21 points.
UConn improved to 20-5 overall, 8-4 in the American Athletic Conference. The Huskies are 9-2 in their last 11 games.
Here's a post-game breakdown and video:
-- Check out the attached video to hear coach Kevin Ollie's post-game press conference.
-- Napier continues to make a strong case for AAC player of the year and All-American honors. He took over the game for long stretches of the second half.
"Man, he hit some big shots,"Memphiscoach Josh Pastner said. "Really, really big shots. Tough shots. Tough, contested shots."
Napier also had five rebounds, four assists and four steals.
"I might be biased, but he's the best guard in American, to me, hands down," Ollie said.
-- You had to feel good for Boatright, who's been stuck in a prolonged shooting funk. He came in shooting just 37 percent in the previous 10 games.
He only converted 4 of 12 from the field but made his only two attempts in overtime, scoring eight of the team's 17 points. He finished with a team-best six assists.
"I had a rhythm," Boatright said. "I had some open looks and just knocked them down."
-- UConn's defense was awful at times, but terrific during the game's decisive moments.
The breakdowns started on the perimeter whereMemphisguards used their speed to get into the lane. Don't think the Huskies have given up as many layups in a game this season. The Tigers shot 55 percent overall and scored a whopping 42 points in the paint.
On the positive side, UConn did force 18 turnovers.
-- The Huskies reached the 20th win mark for the fourth straight season.
-- Napier moved into eighth place on UConn's all-time scoring list with 1,688 points. Boatright became the 48th Husky to record his 1,000th career points.
-- UConn improved to 3-2 vs. ranked teams.
-- Senior Tyler Olander returned to the lineup after missing a game with flu-like symptoms. He made a nice contribution, chipping in four points and two rebounds in 11 minutes.
Sophomore Omar Calhoun (concussion) sat out his second straight game.
-- Junior DeAndre Daniels limped off the court near the end of the first half after a hard fall. He appeared to re-injury his right ankle.
But he returned to start the second half and finished with eight points, a team-high six rebounds and two big blocks, including one on Shaq Goodwin on Memphis' last possession in regulation.
-- UConn entered the game as the conference's top free throw shooting team at 76.8 percent. The Huskies made 29 of 36 (80.6 percent) from the line. The Tigers took only nine free throws, sinking six.
Pastner refused to blame the officials for the disparity.
"That's not the reason we lost," he said.
-- It was the first sell-out of the season for the Huskies and first at the XL Center since Feb. 18, 2012 againstMarquette.
-- Up next: UConn visits Temple on Thursday. The Huskies have just six regular season games left – three on the road (Temple, South Florida, Louisville) and three at home (SMU, Cincinnati and Rutgers).
"Every win for now on is important for us," Boatright said. "Every game we're trying to win, no matter if it's at home or on the road. We know we we're going to get everyone's best shot. We just have to step it up, tie our shoes up and take care of business."
-- AAC commissioner Mike Aresco talked to the media before the game. Of course, he's pleased that five teams are ranked in the top 25.
"Obviously having five teams in the top 25 is not something that necessarily surprised us," Aresco said. "We knew we had good teams."
He talked about importance of SMU emerging as a basketball power.
"It's huge," Aresco said. "You can't overstate it. We need that additional team. … There's a special thing going on down there."
Aresco also addressed comments by newly-hiredCincinnatiathletic director Mike Bohn about wanting to bolt the AAC.
"My view was that they were unfortunate," Aresco said of the comments, "but I understood. I talked to both Mike and the president. We had a great discussion. I think they'll be a supportive conference member.
"This realignment business has been hard on everyone, but we're concerned about building our conference."
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