The Huskies headed for New Jersey after Tuesday's practice, as they prepare to meet powerhouse Duke University at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.
It's a big game for UConn, not just because it's a good measuring stick for where they are but because until Sunday's win over Coppin St., they had dropped three straight. Either way, coach Kevin Ollie knows Thursday's game will one of the toughest tests his team faces all season.
“They are incredibly athletic, and when you get live turnovers which we had against Coppin State, they are going to convert them," Ollie said, via the Connecticut News. … "We have to limit the mistakes with the basketball, make sure we limit our turnovers and of course they are going to try to pound it in there (to freshman Jahlil Okafor). I mean I saw Jahlil get a steal last night and go coast-to-coast. They’re not going to take their foot off the accelerator. They are always going to push the ball.”
Rodney Purvis, who began his college career at NC State before transferring to UConn, is quite familiar with what it means to play Duke.
“It’s great," he said. "Playing against a team like Duke, they’re undefeated right now and we are kind of getting back on the road. It will be a great game. I’m 1-1 against Duke (at N.C. State), so it would be good to get another win against Duke.”
Senior point guard Ryan Boatright added: “We were playing those first few games on just pure talent, but now it’s getting into the heart of the schedule and we got to come together and a lot of other things like that. We are starting to play together a lot better and we’re starting to understand the game more.”
Boatright also knows Duke's all-everything freshman, Jahlil Okafor, who, like Boatright, is also from Chicago.
“We worked out this summer a few times together, we played pick up and stuff," he said. "I know him pretty well, I watched him in high school. … I know him, but just pick up, I’ve never played a competitive game vs. him.”