February 1, 2013
UConn Survives OT in Providence
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Kevin Ollie's opening comment said it all on Thursday night.
"Guys, I don't know what to tell you," the Connecticut head coach began. "Coach (George) Blaney has been with me a long time, and I don't think he's going to ever see a stat sheet like this. I really like the fact that we had more points than Providence."
The bottom line will tell you that Connecticut beat Providence 82-79 in overtime on Thursday night. How they got there is in some ways remarkable because it's a game that never should have needed overtime after Connecticut ran out to a big early lead and left themselves having to play defense seemingly all night long. Yet it's also a game the Huskies had no business winning with the possession disadvantage they had.
Connecticut ran out to a 25-10 lead early and looked like they might win this one in a walk. They were making shots and Providence couldn't buy a basket. Then Providence came alive and got within one at the end of the half, and early in the second half took their first lead. It was back and forth after that before overtime.
"We found a way, that's all I've got to say," Ollie added. "I don't know how we did it, but we found a way to dig deep and get a game that was all from the heart."
After Kadeem Batts made one of two free throws for Providence, Connecticut brought the ball up. Omar Calhoun got it right in front of his bench and let it go from deep, and in it went. That gave the Huskies a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way.
What Went Right
The Huskies were able to get baskets in transition, including off turnovers (25 points off 17 Providence turnovers), and they induced misses all night long. Providence shot just 33.8 percent for the game, making it interesting in other areas. That they held Providence to that low a percentage tells you just how well this team defended, although they struggled to finish defensive possessions.
The Huskies were also 9-17 from long range on the night, led by Shabazz Napier going 33 from deep and Ryan Boatright going 3-6.
What Went Wrong
One word: rebounding. The Huskies' frontcourt issues are well-documented, but this brought it to a new level. Providence out-rebounded Connecticut 55-24, which ties a Big East record for rebounding margin in a Big East game. (Previously, St. John's out-rebounded Seton Hall 64-33 on February 26, 1997.) The dominance was such that Providence out-rebounded the Huskies on offensive boards alone, as they had 28 of those.
It didn't help that Tyler Olander had flu-like symptoms, and in light of that it wasn't surprising that he was never a factor en route to fouling out in 12 minutes of action without a rebound. Enosch Wolf had five boards in 20 minutes, which isn't bad but they need him to get more, and Phillip Nolan didn't have a rebound in ten minutes.
Still, rebounding is a team effort.
Both teams played a lot of zone, so individual matchups didn't come into play much. Providence also didn't start Vincent Council and LaDontae Henton, but both played big minutes off the bench. With that in mind, let's look at wings on the perimeter since the point guards played basically to a draw.
While Vincent Council had a nice night with 15 points and 10 assists before fouling out five seconds into overtime, he didn't get much help nearby. Bryce Cotton had an off night as he was 4-15 from the field, while Kris Dunn struggled again to a 1-7 evening. For the Huskies, Boatright had a team-high 19 points and seven assists, and Calhoun added 13 on 4-7 shooting.
3 Stars of the Game
1.Ryan Boatright: His rolled his right ankle, but he was very much a gamer en route to 19 points and seven assists with just one turnover in 42 minutes.
2.DeAndre Daniels: The Huskies needed someone - anyone - to do some work inside, and Daniels did that with 18 points and a team-high seven rebounds to go along with four assists.
3.Shabazz Napier: He didn't play his best ball for a long stretch of regulation, but he came up big in overtime to finish with 18 points and three assists, and he made all three shots he attempted from long range.
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