Last week, UConn was 11-9, losers of four straight on the road, and coach Kevin Ollie was desperately trying to find someone -- anyone -- to help share the burden along with senior point guard Ryan Boatright.
On Saturday, the Huskies won their second straight -- this time in New Orleanes against Tulane -- and while Boatright again led the team in scoring with 18 points, transfer Rodney Purvis and freshman Daniel Hamilton also did their parts (17 and 11 points respectively). Hamilton added eight rebounds and UConn has put themselves in a familiar position as we head down the stretch for the conference tournament.
"I just want the guys to stay with it," coach Kevin Ollie said via the Hartford Courant, "and sooner or later we'll come through it. The common thread, the common goal, is us. When we get kind of out of whack, we start thinking about things we can't control — the outcome. We just want to play every possession hard, compete on every possession, and go out there and try to win the game together."
It sounds like, well, coachspeak, but it's happened so often in recent years that you have to take Ollie seriously.
"I have a group that's coming together now," the coach continued. "Everybody's seen us, we've had our struggles, we've had our ups and downs. But those guys are playing better, they're feeding off each other, they're understanding where they can get points in our offense and they're pressuring the ball a little bit better. That's what I want to do — play with energy, but I want them to play with pleasure, don't let pressure take away the pleasure of the game. I thought we were doing that earlier, everybody was pressing to make plays, this and that. Smile out there, enjoy the moment."
Next up: Tulsa comes to the XL Center on Thursday.