When it comes to explaining UConn’s 98-38 shellacking of exhibition opponent Concordia, Coach Kevin Ollie said it best.
“When Pat Lenehan outscores (Ryan) Boatright, there are a lot of things that don’t look right on the stat sheet.”
And what a stat sheet it was, as the 18th-ranked Huskies were able to display the depth and versatility it takes to contend, even if it was against a Division III opponent.
The Huskies featured 13 different scorers, as a balanced attack gave Kevin Ollie a chance to see exactly what he has ahead of Friday’s season opener against Maryland.
“We had a complete game today, I believe,” said the second-year head coach. “Just playing with spirit. We didn’t look at our opponent. We looked at ourselves.”
Despite receiving minimal contributions from stars Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels, UConn was able to dominate, as the Huskies were able to govern the paint with a 40-2 scoring margin.
Leading the charge for the ever-changing Huskies was freshman point guard Terrence Samuel, who picked up a double-double with 10 points to go with his 12 assists.
“Terrence played incredible,” said Ollie, a former UConn guard himself. “He’s been doing that the whole preseason. He’s always playing hard. I can get on him and he doesn’t change his face, he just keeps playing.”
“They tell me to be ready, keep working in the gym,” added the young guard. “I go at night and shoot every night so that I’m prepared when my name is called. When my name is called, I want to be successful.”
Ollie was impressed with the poise of his young point guard, as Samuel’s 28 minutes of play showed that the freshman was capable of leading the Husky offense for long stretches.
“If you’re good enough to play, you’re good enough to lead,” stated Ollie. “I think they are starting to understand that now. With Terrence leading, if he’s playing, he’s leading. That’s a good thing when you see that kind of synergy among the team.”
The Huskies were also able to consistently find open shots from distance, as Lasan Kromah and Omar Calhoun were the main culprits of a three-point onslaught that saw the Huskies shoot 50 percent from long range. The two sharpshooters combined for 25 points on 7/12 shooting from beyond the arc.
Calhoun, who returns for his sophomore season on the heels of offseason hip surgery, has impressed his coach with his work ethic and desire to take his game to the next level.
“We call it not looking out the window, but looking in the mirror,” said Ollie, who has become famous for these types of euphemisms. “I think he looked in the mirror. He’s started coming into the gym. We had practice at 9:30 on Saturday and he was in the gym at 7:30 shooting…That shows himself looking in the mirror saying, ‘I’m not going to point fingers. I’m going to keep working on my craft.'”
The Huskies will now focus their attention toward Brooklyn, as a matchup at the Barclays Center with ACC contender Maryland represents a major step up in competition.
“I’m itching,” added Ollie with a smile on his face. “We’re ready to go. It’s going to be a great journey.”
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*All quotes were obtained firsthand*