Searching for Better Start

After losing at St. John's Wednesday, the UConn basketball team has been battling a different storm in recent days.

As the snow fell and the wind blew in Storrs Friday and Saturday, Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie had time to watch video and dissect some statistics. And with Seton Hall on the schedule Sunday in Newark, N.J. (noon, SNY), a few things jumped out at Ollie.

In a conference call with reporters Friday, he was asked to explain what he meant after Wednesday's loss to St. John's when he talked about making changes.

"Talking a mind set change," Ollie said. "How we start games. We have to start games better and we have to be more confident with our shots. What we've been doing, things haven't been working."

UConn (15-6, 5-4 Big East) had difficult first halves against South Florida and St. John's but managed to beat the Bulls in overtime at home. Asked how the Huskies can get off to a better start against Seton Hall (13-10, 2-8), Ollie simply said that he has a few things in mind.

"There are just different things I want to do," he said. "We've had ups and downs, but one thing I can say is that we're keeping our opponents under 40 percent. We also shot 52 free throws and made 41 of them. That's close to 80 percent and that's keeping us in games. And in our last three games, our turnovers have been remarkable. We had seven against St. John's and 10 against USF. We're doing some good things. I'm not about to jump off the ledge, trust me. But we have to score better."

Asked about Ryan Boatright's shooting slump, Ollie said he wants his sophomore guard to attack the basket more.

"It's not just him," Ollie said. "Our whole team, the last two games, shot 29 percent against South Florida and at St. John's we shot 31 percent. We all have to attack the basket more.

"These last two games we've shot 55 threes. That's too many threes. Against St. John's, we counted and we missed 17 layups. That's unbelievable. We've got to convert on some of those easy baskets."

Fuquan Edwin, Seton Hall's leading scorer (16.9 ppg), is questionable for the game. Coach Kevin Willard said he didn't expect Edwin to be ready to play after injuring his ankle in the second half of a 56-46 loss at Pittsburgh Monday night. Edwin had 23 points in the game.

Backup forward Brian Oliver may also miss the game for the Pirates.

Ollie said the Pirates are better than their record indicates.

"It all comes down to possessions here and there," Ollie said. "They're 2-8, but we could easily be 2-8. . . . They haven't been doing a good job with possessions late in the game. But it is a dangerous, dangerous team."

UConn got a late start to Newark, thanks to the snowstorm and road closures while the Northeast cleared out from the heavy snowfall. The Huskies didn't board their bus until about 7 p.m. in Storrs. Freshman Phillip Nolan posted on Twitter that the bus was stuck in snow at least once. That was confirmed but where and how long wasn't known.

The Huskies were unable to practice Friday or Saturday with the Storrs campus closed.

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