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Men's Basketball: Ollie tossed for the first time as UConn coach, Huskies fall to Cardinals

Senior Staff Writer

Published: Sunday, January 19, 2014

Updated: Sunday, January 19, 2014 01:01

Jon Kulakofsky

Senior guard Shabazz Napier attempts a shot against the Louisville Cardinals in Saturday night's game. The Huskies fell to the Cardinals, 76-64.

Kevin Ollie got ejected for the first time as UConn’s head coach and the No. 18 and defending national champion Louisville Cardinals (16-3, 5-1 American) defeated the Huskies (14-4, 2-3 American), 76-64, in front of a sellout crowd of 10,167 at Gampel Pavilion Saturday night as the centerpiece of ESPN’s College GameDay.

Ollie was tossed by referee Mike Stuart at the 13:02 mark in the second half after getting upset at an apparent foul from Cardinals’ Wayne Blackshear on a Niels Giffey 3-point attempt that went uncalled.

“In that situation, I lost my composure,” said Ollie, who was issued two technical fouls in a matter of seconds by Stuart that led to the ejection. “I told my guys that, in the heat of the moment, you can’t lose your composure. And I did that… I just thought it was a foul. We were down by nine and Niels is a pretty good shooter… It happens.”

Prior to the incident, the Cardinals were in the midst of a 13-4 run that gave them a 47-38 lead after the Huskies put on a 6-0 run that even the score at 34-34 coming out of the second half, and Russ Smith and Montrezl Harrell had big parts to do with that.

Smith got to the free throw line 15 times and made 12 attempts there to go along with five field goals for a team-high 23 points, while Harrell scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

“Montrezl did pretty much what he wanted to do down there,” Ollie said. “[He] played a great game. We didn’t have no answer for him.”

Louisville also dominated UConn with a 40-20 edge on points in the paint, to go along with 45-30 and 15-6 advantages in rebounding and second-chance points, respectively.

Shabazz Napier, meanwhile, led the Huskies in the losing effort with a career-high of 30 points in the contest, while Ryan Boatright – who played with a heavy heart for the second straight game after the death of his cousin Arin Williams on Monday – poured in 10 points himself.

“It’s been rough,” Boatright said. “I haven’t really had any sleep, little to no sleep. He’s constantly on my mind, but I’m trying to focus on basketball while I can.”

The Huskies, who were held to just 35 percent shooting on the night, also struggled mightily against Cardinals’ combination of press and zone defense.

“Move the basketball and move yourself,” Ollie said on what he would have liked the team to do. “Relocate. Run our man offense with it sometimes and just play with force.”

The Huskies will return to action on Tuesday when they host the Temple Owls at XL Center for a 7 p.m. tipoff.

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