It's about 150 miles from Storrs to Newark, a journey that, on a typical day, might take 2-3 hours depending on the traffic. On Saturday evening, shortly after a travel ban had been lifted because of the blizzard that struck the area Friday, it took the bus carrying the Huskies men's basketball team 5.5 hours to reach the team hotel. By the time everyone was checked in, it was early Sunday morning, hours before the 8 a.m. team breakfast and the noon tip-off.
To watch the Huskies play Seton Hall, you never would've known what they endured to get to the game. They beat the Pirates, 78-67 thanks to a big afternoon from junior guard Shabazz Napier, who finished with 22 points, 9 assists and 6 steals. Napier's backcourt mate, Ryan Boatright, added 20 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals, and coach Kevin Ollie couldn't have been more pleased with their effort.
“We had a good game plan. It started with Shabazz and Ryan getting 10 steals (combined), which was remarkable," Ollie said via the Hartford Courant.
“We’ve got to clean up some things going into Syracuse, but I’m very proud of the effort for our guys to come out with this win, because of the situation we were in. I was proud of the way we stuck together, our togetherness and our focus, it catapulted us over the finish line.”
Ollie was also impressed with how his team overcame Mother Nature before taking the court against Seton Hall.
"They got to bed late, probably had six hours, five hours sleep," the coach said. "No excuses. We wrote that on the board. We came out and played, and that’s the kind of message we want to send to everybody. No excuses. We came out the first 10 minutes and made a statement.”
UConn has now won four of five -- all in the conference -- to get to 16-6 (6-4 in the Big East) ahead of Wednesday night's matchup with Syracuse at the XL Center. The Huskies are 10-1 at home this season.