After being a part of 2 National Championship teams, UConn Head Coach Kevin Ollie had yet to be part of conference winning team…that changed as of Sunday evening. Coach Ollie and his UConn Huskies captured their first AAC Tournament Title in convincing fashion Sunday evening and they’re hungry for more. Less than an hour after winning their conference tournament the Huskies found out they also captured the 9th seed in the South region of the NCAA Tournament and will play 8th seeded Colorado in Des Moines, Iowa.
It was yet again Daniel Hamilton and Shonn Miller playing the roles of Batman and Superman, leading the way for the Huskies along with some timely 3-point shooting from a team veteran in Senior Omar Calhoun. Hamilton finished with a third straight double/double in as many days, while Miller finished with an efficient 13 points but it was Calhoun, in the middle of a push by Memphis, coming off the bench with 10 points and hitting two clutch 3 pointers that allowed the Huskies to finally put Memphis to bed. After winning its fourth national championship just two years earlier, UConn wasn’t eligible for the NCAA tournament last year. “It’s been a long time, it feels like,” Calhoun said, “Last year was disappointing, but we knew when we started the season, we were going to work extremely hard to get back to the top…We just want to make sure we stay focused. The journey’s not done yet.”
Memphis played a solid game for all intents and purposes and got a strong game out of American rookie of the year Dedric Lawson who led all players with 21 points and added 11 rebounds as well. However, UConn’s phenomenal defense on Memphis leading scorer Shaq Lawson, was a key contributor to being able to capture the tournament title. They were able to hold Lawson to just six points and he spent significant stretches of time on the bench with four fouls. Coach Ollie talked about that very same defense and the Huskies style of play. “Our style of play travels well. We play defense and that’s what Coach Calhoun taught us,” he said, “We hang our hats on that and it gives our offense a chance to step up. That style of play will always travel well.”
The Huskies will move on to Des Moines to play a Colorado team they don’t know much about but that also doesn’t know much about them. “We’ll enjoy this moment for right now and we have to start getting ready for Colorado. I know I’ll be in the gym tomorrow getting shots up, watching film and preparing,” said Hamilton, “We have to take it one day at a time, one game at a time. We’ll definitely enjoy this moment though.” UConn nation will now continue to watch and cheer on a team they hope can continue with this momentum, make another run to the National Championship game in Houston, TX and give them a few more moments to enjoy on the way.