Post-game breakdown, video: New Hampshire
Is it okay to look now?
A painfully brutal college basketball game between UConn and New Hampshire is finally over here at the XL Center.
The post-game theme: A win is a win.
Forget about any style points in a 61-53 victory Thursday in Hartford.
“Our guys didn’t perform the way we wanted them to perform, but we found a way to win,” coach Kevin Ollie said.
The Huskies, 6-1 overall, never trailed but also never felt comfortable until the final seconds.
Some post-game news, notes and quotes:
-- Sound the party horns.
The Huskies finally out-rebounded an opponent, holding a 43-40 edge.
Sophomore DeAndre Daniels had a career-high 10 rebounds and freshman Omar Calhoun added a career-best eight rebounds. Reserve center Enosch Wolf came off the bench to grab a career-high tying six rebounds.
“At the end of the day, we did out-rebound them, which is a good, positive thing,” Ollie said. “But we’ve just got to shoot better.”
UConn finished shooting 36.8 percent from the field, including an icy 31 percent (9-for-29) in the first half.
"We were a little out of it offensively...," Calhoun said. "We were getting frustrated, but we had to stay composed."
-- Sophomore guard Ryan Boatright was the star of the game for the Huskies. He scored a team-high 19 points and kept the Huskies on course during an awful offensive performance. He also added four assists and just one turnover in 36 minutes.
“I love his energy and I love his pull-up game, and I love his pick-and-roll game,” Ollie said. “When the offense got a little stagnant, he was able to get in the crack of the defense and make good passes. … He did a good job running the team today.”
Boatright went 5-for-10 from the field while the rest of the team converted 16-of-47. He hit 9-of-11 free throws.
“I didn’t play great but I played better than I have been,” Boatright said. “I feel like my defense could have been better. There were a couple of loose balls I could have got to. I’m glad about the win though.”
-- Some ugly facts: The Huskies went 1-for-14 from 3-point range and committed 13 turnovers against a team that didn’t pressure them.
-- It’s hard to figure out junior Shabazz Napier.
Napier can dominate in stretches and disappear in other stretches.
He mainly disappeared on Thursday, finishing with a season-low five points on 2-for-9 shooting. It was the first time that Napier, who came in averaging a team-best 20.8, fell short of double figures.
“I have no idea,” said Ollie when asked about Napier’s up and down play. “If I had an answer, a lot of people would be sitting on my coach and I’d be a psychiatrist or something. … I don’t know the reason why he got five points.”
-- The Huskies need more out of junior forward Tyler Olander, the team’s most experienced frontcourt player.
Foul trouble limited Olander to just 16 minutes. He had eight points and four rebounds before fouling out for the third time this season.
“We’re going to keep believing him and keep pushing him forward,” Ollie said.
-- On the plus side, Calhoun, a freshman guard, continues to improve. He had a solid all-around game with a career-high 16 points along with three steals, two assists, three turnovers and a block in a career-best 38 minutes.
“I do like his improvement,” Ollie said. “I kept him in the game along time because he had eight rebounds.
-- Defense remains an anchor for UConn, which limited New Hampshire to just 30.6 percent shooting. It is the sixth time this season an opponent has failed to shoot 40 percent.
“Our defense, they’ve been giving me effort,” Ollie said. “To keep this team to 30 percent for the game is pretty good. We needed them to shoot that bad to win. I do like our defensive effort… Hopefully, we’ll get better on offense.”
-- UConn improved to 3-0 against America East opponents this year.
-- Former Husky Donyell Marshall attended the game. He's in town to visit UConn with his son, a high school football standout.
-- Up next: UConn plays No. 18 North Carolina State on Tuesday in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York.
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