Connecticut's DeAndre Daniels (2) drives past Boston University's Malik Thomas (31) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Storrs, Conn., on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)
For Kevin Ollie, it always comes back to rebounding. His team struggled on the boards last season, and it was one of the primary concerns heading into 2013-14. But through four games, so far, so good. The latest proof came Sunday when the Huskies outlasted Boston University, 77-60.
"If we rebound the basketball," Ollie said, "I'll put my money on us every night. Every night."
Of course, senior point guard Shabazz Napier led UConn with 12 rebounds, which isn't ideal, but beggars also can't be choosers. On the young season, Napier is averaging 9.5 rebounds per contest, to lead the team.
DeAndre Daniels led the way with 24 points and Ryan Boatright added 16 in a game that saw the Huskies jump out to a 19-point lead in the first half only to trail 43-42 early in the second.
“We started off the game pretty well," Ollie said. "Then we kind of took our foot off the gas pedal, which I don’t like to see. Tough team to guard. Their guys can penetrate, they shoot 32 times from the 3-point line. They were going to make some, sooner or later, and that happened in the second half.”
Added Napier: "We were not too worried about giving up the lead, knowing we could be them by however much we had them up by. We were just kind of upset that we gave up the lead so quickly."
Meanwhile, Daniels, who got off to a slow start this season, looked every bit the future NBA player against BU.
"I just wanted to stay aggressive the whole time," he said. "I played terrible the first two games. I wasn't able knock down the shots. I'm just staying aggressive, just keep shooting, and I was able to hit some shots tonight."
Next up: The Huskies face Boston College Thursday at Madison Square Garden in the third leg of the 2K Sports Classic.