Last time a top 3 Villanova played at Gampel

Aug 26, 2011

STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Forget revenge or first place. The one thing that kept coming up after Connecticut (No. 4 ESPN/USA Today, No. 3 AP) beat No. 2 Villanova was toughness.

After the Huskies' 89-75 victory Sunday left everybody in Gampel Pavilion drained whether they played or watched, coaches and players talked about the attitude and style that has become the trademark of the Big East.

"This was an advertisement for how hard the teams in this league play," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "Increasing our toughness was one thing I thought we had to do. We knew we could score, but we had to show we could come up with that kind of game like we had other times this season."

And it wasn't Connecticut's stars who let the Huskies avenge the loss that knocked them from No. 1 and moved them into a tie for first in the conference.

Denham Brown, Rashad Anderson, Hilton Armstrong and Jeff Adrien all came up big for Connecticut 13 days after Villanova beat the Huskies 69-64 in Philadelphia.

"This game was really a big game for us, a statement," Adrien said. "They got real happy after that first win and we had to shut their mouths. Today we had to go out there and show them we're not what they think we are. We are men out there."

The Huskies (25-2, 12-2) took control of this game with an 18-3 run in the second half.

Brown, a senior swingman, had a career-high 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting. He had a total of 18 points in the Huskies' last three games, the first of which was the loss to Villanova (22-3, 12-2) that ended an 11-game winning streak.

The Wildcats came into this game with 11 straight wins.

"We're tougher than a lot of people give us credit for," Brown said. "This was a game we had a bull's eye on for the last two weeks."

Anderson, the leading non-starting scorer in the country at 13.5 points per game, had 17 points and was 5-for-7 from 3-point range.

Armstrong, the senior center who anchors the best shot-blocking team in the nation, had nine points and eight of the Huskies' 11 blocked shots.

Then there was Adrien, the freshman forward, who had eight points and nine rebounds and came up with several big plays in the game-breaking run.

"All of a sudden the game changed when Jeff Adrien got in it," Calhoun said. "That was something for a freshman to express his emotion the way he did."

Allan Ray had 19 points for Villanova, but the senior guard left the game with just under 3 minutes to play with an injury to his left knee. He was taken to the locker room and came back with his knee wrapped in ice.

Ray, who said he slipped on a wet spot, said he would have an MRI on Monday. But he walked out of Gampel Pavilion with a wrap on his knee and without a limp.

"They were on the top of every aspect of their game," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "We will learn from this. You've got to beat the best team in their own house."

Randy Foye added 18 points for the Wildcats and Mike Nardi had 14. Will Sheridan, the star of Villanova's win over UConn with 13 points and 10 rebounds, had nine points and 11 rebounds. All but one of his rebounds was on the offensive end where Villanova had 24 of its 38 rebounds.

"We pretty much expected it," Sheridan said of the physical game. "UConn comes out and plays hard every night. So do we. We knew it was going to be a battle. I felt it was like two of the top teams in the Big East going at it."

The Huskies shot 54.5 percent for the game (30-for-55), including 68.2 percent in the second half (15-for-22).

Ray made two free throws after he was fouled by Armstrong on a breakaway midway through the second half. The foul was called intentional and Ray scored on a drive on the ensuing possession for a 54-53 lead with 10:45 to go.

Ray picked up his fourth foul 25 seconds later and that's when the Huskies started their big run.

Anderson hit two 3s and Adrien had two baskets, the second on an offensive rebound, a big steal that led to the first of Anderson's 3s and a defensive rebound that he snatched away from three Villanova players on the Wildcats' third shot of a possession.

"That was some rebound," Calhoun said. "There wasn't anybody who was going to take that ball from him."

Brown's three-point play on a fast-break dunk capped the run and gave Connecticut a 71-57 lead with 5:15 to go.

"Plays like that have to be made by myself to get the team and the crowd going," Brown said.

Calhoun called it a statement play.

"Sometimes a dunk isn't always worth just two points," he said.

Marcus Williams, who was coming off a triple-double in the win over Notre Dame, had 10 points and 12 assists for Connecticut, while Rudy Gay had 13 points and seven rebounds.

The win improved Connecticut to 9-1 this season against ranked teams, the lone loss to Villanova.

There is the possibility the teams could meet again, maybe in the Big East tournament or in the NCAAs.

"The only place down the road I want to see them is in Indianapolis at the Final Four," Calhoun said. "They come loaded and knock you down. That is a great team with heart."

Wright agreed.

"I really don't want to see them again but if we play them again it will be a big game," he said.
Aug 26, 2011

UConn Head Coach Jim Calhoun

“A lot of times when games are built up, sometimes they don’t fulfill their promise. think the score is a little misleading. I think that game from a competitiveness standpoint, from a toughness standpoint, from an atmosphere standpoint, certainly more than fulfilled its promise.”​
“Jay Wright has just done an incredible, incredible job. They may be, pound for pound, the toughest team that we’ve played anywhere, anytime.”​
“Early in the game we had to match their toughness.”​
“It was a tough, tough game, and a great win for us.”​
“I thought we increased our toughness, and that’s what we had to do to win.”​
“In the year 2006, if their season ends before the Final Four, you’re going to have to be pretty good to beat them. They’re good. We played them here in a great environment, but they’re going to be awfully, awfully tough to beat. That’s a great team heart.”​
“Unless you have a tough team, not just a talented team, you cannot win the Big East.”​
On Denham Brown: “Denham had, arguably, the best game of his career at a good time; Denham was outstanding ...”​
On Rudy Gay: “The eye really knocked him off. I happened to watch the Vargas fight last night and watched his eye closing. It wasn’t quite that dramatic, but we did have our cut man working on it. He responded well in the second half after being very leery after he got hit. And I don’t blame him. The scratch there is pretty good.”​
On Jeff Adrien: “I think we went on an 18 to 3 run when Jeff Adrien went in. All of a sudden the game changed. When he got a rebound, nobody was going to try to grab it away from him. For a freshman to go in and make that kind of a stand is very significant.”​

Marcus Williams

On the “bullies” comment by Villanova: “I think some of us took that to heart, especially Jeff. It’s kind of like calling someone out, like if they want to fight. We started to see them pushing us and fouling us and the refs weren’t calling it. We took the initiative to give it back. “​
On what they did today that was different than the last game vs. Villanova: “I think we kept penetration to a limit, closed down the shooters and hit the defensive glass as well. We ran our offense. Denham and Rashad played a great game for us.”​
On the play of Jeff Adrien: “I wouldn’t say I was surprised. At this kind of game, Jeff always comes through; he’s a man-child out there. He was clearing the glass, moving his way through the paint getting buckets. That’s normal, that’s what I see all of the time.”​
On differences between two games: “The first time we played them we didn’t expect to play the way they did. We hadn’t faced it; they had a new team, different team, 4 guards. Then we studied a little film, we’ve seen their strengths and weaknesses and we exploited them.”​
On rest of season: “We still have to go out there and focus. It was a big win for us, but we still have 2 games left, South Florida and Louisville to close out. We are going into the BIG EAST tournament strong.”​

Jeff Adrien

On South Florida coming up next: “They are going to be hungry with UConn coming in. A lot of schools are like that when UConn comes in, they play their best game. We are going to be ready for South Florida, and take one game at a time. The ball is our hands, we are just going to go out there and play basketball.”​
“I like games like that, physical games. It is something that is part of me, people say I’m undersized but I don’t’ think so. I still have to go out there and play 10x harder.”​
On Villanova saying they were the bullies of the conference: “We read it before the game, we didn’t even know about it until this week. But it really fueled me up, I was like wow, one game and now they were talking about being the big bullies of the BIG EAST. Think what you want to think but you still have to go out there play basketball. If you are talking about it, you have to back it up.”​
On the crowd: “Around here the noise is much louder, in the smaller dome. The noise stays right there on the court. They are our sixth man out there so it was really good. Thanks to them.”​

Rudy Gay

On getting poked in the eye: “Actually two people hit me in the face; just one hit me in the eye. I couldn’t see out of it for a long time, most of the first half. It kind of bothers you but if you are trying to win a game you aren’t worried about it you have to put it behind you.”​
“After that game you have to be scrappy, with the size advantage you have to do things like that. Hustle points, things like that. It was a tough game and I’m glad to have it behind us.”​
On team playing with toughness: “I think it shows we stepped up to the task. They came out like they were tough, they smacked and held and stuff and we did the same thing and that’s how we showed them.”​

Josh Boone

“They came in with the mentality that they are the toughest team in the BIG EAST and we came in with the same one. It was just a matter of us matching that same intensity and giving it right back to them.”​
“It doesn’t matter. You have to prove yourselves every game. It doesn’t matter what your reputation in the league is or anything, every team is going to come at you the same way, especially when you have a high ranking. They beat us last time and they probably didn’t respect us as much because of that. We came in and we tried to match their intensity and match their level of play.”​
On what they take out of this game: “Out of this game, we know how tough we are now.”​

Rashad Anderson

“Anytime in the game, we always feed off each others instincts. When somebody’s hot, we always make sure they get the ball. Everybody’s got to help each other out. That’s what we did tonight, collectively as a group.”​
On Denham Brown‘s dunk: “I almost got a technical foul because I almost came on the court. And then I said, let me back up a little bit.”​
On the physical nature of the game: “It was fun. Fun.”​
On the difference between this game and the last one against Villanova: “We played hard and we executed; bottom line. We played harder and we wanted it more.”​

Denham Brown

On playing against 4 guard offense: “We went over it a lot in practice, to try to hedge everything. We made some adjustments from last game. “​
On Villanova’s bully comment: “I think today’s game speaks for itself. We are just as tough as any team in the league. We just go out and play. We play hard, we play tough and we are a talented team.”​
On blocks: “I’m not going to try to do something that’s out of my range or that would get me into foul trouble. If I go for a block my man can get a rebound because I’m out of position for that. I have to pick and choose.”​
“Randy Foye is a great player, I like him. Allan Ray is an amazing shooter. Great competition, especially in the BIG EAST. Having the two of them on the same team is a great combination for guards.”​
On Jeff Adrien‘s play: “He stepped up big for us today, tremendous. The rebounds he had, a couple of baskets. He is a beast. To me he’s the bully of the BIG EAST; especially as a freshman; it will be scary to see him in a couple of years.”​

“We are tougher than a lot of people give us credit for because we are so talented. I think a lot of our guys are tough physically and mentally.”

“Coach said this is just like any other game; it was a game to win. But us players really had a bull’s-eye on this one, we circled it, got all the arrow to it, did all of that work and made sure that we stayed focused and got ready for this game.”
Jan 6, 2015
Best camping trip of my life!

While camping, I will always remember being inside Gampel watching the womens' team practice. There were about 100 students or so in the student section and in the middle of practice Geno looked towards us saying so, what are you guys camped out for? in his classic ironic tone.

Perplexed at the interaction, most students stayed silent but a few replied. Geno responded with something like huh, interesting. Why don't you guys do that for us?
Mar 28, 2019
The two most amazing fan signs ever at Gampel were for this game.

If you know, you know


The crowd for this game was unbelievable. I couldn't get tickets, but I was on the cheerleading squad that did the women's games. My buddy and I put on our gameday gear, grabbed our megaphones, and walked in. No one said boo. We stashed our megaphones and sat in the student section.

I remember some poor group of fans with a European soccer-style scarf-banner with Villanova on it. They had at least one small child with them. They got pelted with popcorn every time they raised their banner.
Sep 29, 2019
Man, these names, these quotes, this highlight. Total domination. You can tell the level they were at by the comments given. What times.


#1 Casual Fan™
Aug 27, 2011
That was a hell of a game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aug 28, 2011
This game was so awesome. The build-up and hype for a regular-season game were about as high as it gets.


Gangstas, what's up?
Dec 3, 2018
Best camping trip of my life!

While camping, I will always remember being inside Gampel watching the womens' team practice. There were about 100 students or so in the student section and in the middle of practice Geno looked towards us saying so, what are you guys camped out for? in his classic ironic tone.

Perplexed at the interaction, most students stayed silent but a few replied. Geno responded with something like huh, interesting. Why don't you guys do that for us?

They let you guys camp out inside Gampel? When I was there 2010-14 we had to sleep outside in the cold! I guess that toughness they created is why we won 2 scrappy titles when I was there, unlike the loaded 06 team that couldn't finish the job (kidding, of course).
Aug 26, 2011
Good 'ol Shad. LOL

On Denham Brown‘s dunk: “I almost got a technical foul because I almost came on the court. And then I said, let me back up a little bit.
Aug 27, 2011
"9-1 against RANKED teams this season" Man oh man those were the days.
I went to the Philly game as well and it was nuts. Train to subway to train to subway, Westport to Philly. Then reverse.

Crashed the 'Nova alumni bash thru service elevator as no beer college game day. Kept my jacket zipped to hide Husky gear. Pre game and half time. Shrimp, sammy's, beer. all on the generosity of the Wildcat alumni Even went by myself. Yup it was worth it even tho... Yup those were the daze. Yup hope it happens again.
Sep 30, 2019
Remember EXACTLY where i sat in cramped student section that game after waiting A LONG time out after the cold and snow. The student section def gave it their all that game to give a good home court edge. Of course if my memory serves me right we had Hasheem among others. Good memories.
Aug 26, 2011
Well I had planned on watching UConn / Nova tonight so I just might re-watch this one

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