It’s always easy to raise questions in hindsight, but Junior Cadougan’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer deserves closer examination.
UConn coach Kevin Ollie said he “didn’t have a chance to tell Boatright to foul at that time.” It all happened very fast: Boatright buried a turnaround to put UConn up 69-66 with 5.9 seconds left, then Cadougan raced down the court and launched the game-tying longball.
In retrospect, Shabazz Napier said the Huskies should have fouled. Knowing the outcome, anyone would say so.
But is that the right move?
Some coaches prefer to foul because two free throws cannot tie the game (although a made free throw, a miss, an offensive rebound and a putback can). Others let things ride out, and that strategy seems to fail more often than the other.
Maybe Ollie should have called timeout after Boatright’s shot dropped and then instructed his team to foul. Maybe he anticipated that Marquette would want to re-group, so he didn’t think to do so. After all, in such a situation, the team with possession usually burns the timeout.
The other debate here pertains to Marquette: Run a designed play out of a timeout or hurry up the floor before the defense can set-up (or foul)?
Marquette coach Brad Autry opted for the latter, which paid off big-time. Cadougan, a 16.7 percent shooter from deep, delivered on a lightly contested 30-footer. Of course, in those instances, defenders are reluctant to aggressively contest; fouling a 3-point shooter is worst-case scenario.
My gut says Autry did the right thing, and UConn was wrong for not fouling. If Autry had called timeout, odds are the Huskies head home 1-0 in Big East play.