Ollie Looks to Samuel as Defensive Stopper

Sophomore guard Terrence Samuel is UConn's go-to defender.

Ryan Boatright is the unquestioned leader of the 2014-15 Huskies, but it's an otherwise young group. And while they're short on experience, that doesn't mean they can't play.

Take sophomore guard Terrence Samuel, for example, coach Kevin Ollie's go-to guy when he's looking to clamp down on an opponent's best player. And that's exactly what UConn needed in its opener Friday, when it needed all 40 minutes to beat Bryant University, 66-53.

"Our defense took over the game in the second half," Ollie said via the Hartford Courant, "and it started with (Samuel) on (Bryant's Dyami) Starks, making him be uncomfortable."

Bryant was up six at the break and the Huskies didn't get their first lead of the second half until a Boatright layup made it 45-43.

"He just wanted me to pressure him," Samuel said of Ollie's instructions, "he wanted to play around, pull up or take a three-point shot. He wanted me to make him a driver, pressure him, draw him into Amida (Brimah) because Amida is going to block the shot."

The strategy worked, Bryant started missing shots, and UConn got their first win of the season.

"In the first two two exhibition games, I was a little too, too active on defense," Samuel said, "a little jumpy. Tonight I stayed composed and kept guys in front of me."

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