Huskies win a close one against Wildcats
It certainly won't be remembered as one of the prettiest games the UConn men's basketball team will play this season, but Coach Kevin Ollie doesn't feel remorseful that the Huskies were able to escape the XL Center with a victory last night against the University of New Hampshire, 61-53.
"I'm not going to have a pity party, that's not who I am," Ollie said following the victory. "We got a good win and I'm not going to apologize for it."
UConn (6-1) struggled mightily shooting the ball against UNH, going 21-57 (36.8 percent) from the floor. The Huskies also failed to match their long-range barrage from their previous game against Stony Brook, as the team shot 1-14 from distance, with junior guard Shabazz Napier knocking down the team's lone three in the second half.
Sophomore guard Ryan Boatright led the team with 19 points, while freshman guard Omar Calhoun chipped in with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Ollie expressed disappointment in the team's shot selection. "We didn't make shots today, and they were contested shots," Ollie said. "They weren't the clean shots we were getting off good penetration in the Stony Brook game. But at the end of the day we made enough plays [to win]."
Luckily for UConn, UNH (2-4) was even more of an offensive disaster. The Wildcats went 19-62 (30.6 percent) from the field in the game, and missed nearly half of their free throws (8-14). UNH's sole offensive bright spot was center Chris Pelcher, who scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to net a double-double.
Shooting woes aside, the Wildcats didn't falter and were within two possessions for a majority of the game. After a beautiful bounce pass from Boatright led to a reverse layup by junior forward Tyler Olander to put the Huskies up 46-40 with six minutes left in the game, the Wildcats bounced back via a Ferg Myrick three-pointer to make it a one-possession game.
The Huskies then went on an 11-3 run in the next four-and-a-half minutes, capped by a Calhoun three-point play to give UConn a 57-46 lead with just 1:42 remaining on the clock. It appeared to be the dagger the Huskies desperately needed, and some of Husky supporters even started making their way toward the exits.
The Wildcats clawed their way back, however. Pelcher hit two free throws, then UNH forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds play that led to a Jordon Bronner triple from the right corner with 1:22 left. UConn turned the ball over on their next possession on a shot-clock violation and Pelcher made an uncontested layup out of the UNH's half-court set to bring the score to 57-53 with just 36 seconds left.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, time was not on their side. UNH was forced to foul Boatright on UConn's next inbounds. Boatright knocked down both of his free throws. UNH had a chance to bring the game closer, but was unable to convert late free throws and contested jump shots. Calhoun sealed the victory, swishing two from the charity stripe with 21 seconds on the clock.
"We're going to get everybody's best game, and they came out and performed," Ollie said about UNH. "Our guys didn't perform the way we wanted to perform, but we came out with the win."
UConn's next game will be next Tuesday against the No. 19 NC State Wolfpack in the annual Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
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