UConn needed an answer after Notre Dame's Jack Cooley's offensive rebound dunk cut UConn's lead from 50-48 on Saturday.
The Huskies decided to do something risky, and potentially spectacular.
How about a ally-oop lob to 5-10 (generous height) Ryan Boatright?
UConn guard Shabazz Napier executed the perfect pass near halfcourt with the 6-0 point guard throwing a lob to a 5-10 shooting guard for a spectacular dunk.
Here's Napier's view of the play to the New Haven's Register's Dave Borges:
“It’s kind of funny because (Cooley) got the dunk, and we had already set the play up for Boatright to get his own dunk," Napier said to the New Haven Register. "Boatright said, ‘It’s gonna be open.’ I said, ‘I’m gonna throw it up to you, you’ve gotta catch it.’ (Cooley) got that dunk, he came back down, I said, ‘Man, we’re about to shut them up.’ He came off the pick, I saw him set him set his feet up, I lobbed it up there and he went up there and got it.”Boatright's dunk set off celebration in the stands for the Boat Show fan club that traveled from the Chicago area to watch him play.
It was a bold play for the Huskies. A set lob requires timing and precision. Add to that the length of the pass and the height of Boatright, it is a remarkable play.
The Huskies made a ton of remarkable plays down the stretch. The Huskies ended the game on a 7-0 with Boatright getting to the line and DeAndre Daniels scoring three points including a put back. UConn beat the Irish in every way and didn't flinch with the pressure was on. Daniels, who had 0 points and 0 rebounds at the half, had eight points and nine rebounds in the second half.
"What a great game. Guys played hard," UConn coach Kevin Ollie said postgame on Saturday. "Three or four times we could have given in and they faced adversity like true champions. They played together tonight. I can't overuse that word; I can't overemphasize it, but they stayed together. The game management with our guards was perfect. They kept everybody encouraged; they kept everybody in the game. "
Boatright had an up and down game with 14 points but was clutch in the end. Napier had another stellar game with 19 points and only one turnover. The pair outplayed the Notre Dame backcourt of Jerrian Grant and Eric Atikins.
"Today their guards played well. They played amazing, I felt like they couldn't miss," Grant said afterward. "Just defensively we've got to be able to stay in front of those quick guards. There's a lot of them in the BIG EAST. We'll get better at that. We gave ourselves a chance to win. The score was tied and then the foul was called and all of those free throws. Kudos to them. But we've got to bounce back and get ready for St. Johns."
UConn plays Louisville on Monday, which could be ranked as high as No. 1 in the country if Michigan falls this afternoon to Ohio State.
Sunday linksLoose Napier leads the way (Hartford Courant)
No pushovers (Journal Inquirer)