HARTFORD — DeAndre Daniels played against Cincinnati this time, but he was not a factor. He was 2-for-5 from the floor, with four rebounds and, though he was not in foul trouble, was limited to 15 minutes.
"I go by feel," coach Kevin Ollie said. "I thought Niels [Giffey] and that group was playing well. That's why DeAndre didn't get back in the game. Next game, he'll be right back in there. I don't coach with fear, I coach with love."
Daniels, a junior, continues to have his ups and downs. In the last game, at South Florida, which also has a big, physical front court, he played 18 minutes, going 2-for-5 with five rebounds. In both games, he looked tentative around the basket, not the aggressive Daniels seen in other games. He is 14-for-38 from the floor the last five games. Daniels, who missed two games with ankle and back injuries at the start of February, has not reached double-digits in rebounds since the first Temple game, on Jan. 21.
Giffey went in for Daniels after 4:42, as Ollie began shifting lineups. Terrence Samuel was in a lot for his defense, and at times UConn used a small lineup with Giffey, Kromah and three guards. Daniels played only four minutes in the second half.
Though he took only three shots, making one, and had three rebounds, Giffey ended up playing 28 minutes, Phil Nolan played 18 minutes and drew a change during the final minutes. Ollie pointed out Nolan leads the Huskies in that category.
More Time For Samuel
Samuel, who had played eight important minutes at USF, played 16 against Cincinnati, with three points, an assist and a steal, helping to make life tough for Sean Kilpatrick.
"I'm extremely proud of Terrence," Ryan Boatright said, "he's been working hard all year. He's getting his opportunity and he's making the best of it. These last two games he's been tremendous — a big part of our wins."
Said Samuel, "I've shown [the coaches] I can be a game-changer on the defensive end. I'm going to come in and guard the best guy, rebound, push the ball."
Ollie's voice remains very hoarse. "I couldn't yell today. Luckily I had Shabazz to yell for me." When his post-game press conference neared the 10-minute mark, he rasped, "This is the longest press conference, my throat is messed up and you guys want to hear me talk in my Barry White voice." … The Huskies again played a little zone defense in the second half, with the three guards in there. … This was the last game at the XL Center for UConn's seniors, and it was a sellout. "The XL crowd was great," Ollie said, "it was the last game here for Shabazz and Niels and Tyler [Olander], who have so much to our program. I know Wednesday night [at Gampel] is going to be an emotional night, there's going to be a lot of tears in there and I may be boo-hooing, too." Napier, who has always voiced his preference for playing on campus, was asked if he'd miss XL. "Yeah, I definitely am — I'll just miss Gampel more." As for the emotion of Senior Night, he said, "Hopefully I can keep it all together. I don't think I can play basketball crying." … With 18 points and 11 rebounds, Napier got his third double-double of the season, the eighth of his career. It's now about certain he will lead the team in scoring, rebounding and assists, a UConn first so far as all those stats have been kept. … Napier said his mother got to pose for a picture with Khalid El-Amin last Sunday. "Yeah, yeah, she took a picture," Napier said. "She wanted to take a picture of both me and him. I said, 'Nah.' She just loves that guy." … The 51-46 victory was the lowest UConn point total in a win since Feb. 11, 2002, and a 46-40 win over Villanova. It's the lowest scoring game they've been in since the 53-41 win over Butler in the 2011 championship game. … The Huskies are now 4-2 against ranked opponents this season, after knocking off he 11th-ranked Bearcats.Copyright © 2015, CT Now