A closer look: UConn in the clutch

For the second time in a week, UConn coughed up a chance to win.

By my count, there have been an astounding 15 games that could have gone either way in the final minutes. UConn is 7-8 in those contests.  So the Huskies have come through in the clutch at times and faded at others, which is pretty standard of any basketball team.

Here’s a look at those games:


vs. Michigan State, Nov. 9

Score: 62-60 UConn, 2:17

Outcome: The Huskies made two defensive stops and Shabazz Napier went 4-for-4 from the line in the final 13 seconds to seal it.


Kevin Ollie and Shabazz Napier (AP)

vs. Wake Forest, Nov. 16

Score: 73-69 UConn 0:54

Outcome: Napier was 4-for-4 from the line in the final 28 seconds. UConn held off the Demon Deacons, 77-71.


vs. Quinnipiac, Nov. 18

Score: 59-52 Quinnipiac, 1:58

Outcome: Dead in the water, Napier scored seven points in the final 1:35, including an overtime-forcing layup with four seconds left. In the first overtime, Napier and Quinnipiac point guard Dave Johnson traded clutch plays. Johnson’s 3-pointer with four seconds remaining forced a second OT. Napier then scored six of the Huskies’ final 10 points to help them pull away for an 87-83 win.


vs. Notre Dame, Jan. 14

Score: 58-58, 1:13

Outcome: Boatright came through in the clutch, sinking all four free throw attempts to open a 62-58 lead with 31 seconds remaining. UConn would hold on for a 65-58 win.


vs. Providence, Jan. 31

Score: 66-66, 1:39

Outcome: Boatright gave UConn a 68-66 lead with two free throws, but Napier left the door open by making 1-of-2 at the 0:44 mark. After LaDontae Henton tied it, Boatright’s difficult jumper was blocked by Providence’s Kris Dunn. Overtime ensued, and Omar Calhoun broke a 76-76 tie with a longball from the corner with 42 seconds left. Although Napier scored eight points in overtime, he missed a free throw with 11 seconds remaining, giving Providence one last chance to tie. Bryce’s Cotton’s 3-pointer missed, however, and the Huskies escaped.


vs. South Florida, Feb. 3

Score: 51-50 UConn, 0:40

Outcome: Boatright hit 1-of-2 free throws with 26 seconds remaining and USF point guard Anthony Collins tied it with a layup at the 0:12 mark. Napier went crazy in overtime again, scoring 11 points to lead UConn to the win.


vs. Cincinnati, Feb. 21

Score: 53-53, 1:30

Outcome: The Huskies could have led 54-53 if Napier had converted both free throws. Instead, he only hit one, but made up for it with a game-tying jumper and 11 points in overtime.


vs. New Mexico, Nov. 19

Score: 55-53 UConn, 2:23

Outcome: New Mexico went 3-for-3 from the floor and 6-for-6 from the line after UConn took the lead. The Huskies, meanwhile, misfired on three 3-pointers, two by Napier and one by DeAndre Daniels.


vs. N.C. State, Dec. 4

Score: 61-58 N.C. State, 1:44

Outcome: UConn couldn’t get stops, nor could it keep the Wolfpack off the offensive glass. N.C. State scored on its final six possessions.


Ryan Boatright (AP)

vs. Marquette, Jan. 1

Score: 65-65, 3:53

Outcome: Boatright delivered at the end of regulation, giving UConn a 69-66 lead with five seconds left. Marquette’s Junior Coudagan answered with a buzzer-beating 30-footer to force OT. Trailing 74-72 in overtime, Boatright missed the front end of a one-and-one. Napier misfired on a game-tying 3-pointer with 18 seconds left.


vs. Pittsburgh, Jan. 19

Score: 58-58, 4:09

Outcome: After a Boatright 3-point play tied the game, the Huskies broke down defensively, allowing James Robinson an open look from beyond the arc. This loss wasn’t on either of the guards, but rather poor team defense.


vs. St. John’s, Feb. 6

Score: 53-51 UConn, 4:28

Outcome: Napier, Boatright and Calhoun missed 3-pointers in consecutive possessions and the Huskies failed to get a stop. Two minutes later, St. John’s led 60-53.


vs. Villanova, Feb. 16

Score: 60-57 Villanova, 4:08

Outcome: UConn committed turnovers on three straight possessions (R.J. Evans first, then two by Boatright) and Napier missed a layup, which could have been ruled a goaltend. Either way, ‘Nova had a comfortable 67-57 lead with 1:37 remaining.


vs. Georgetown, Feb. 27

Score: 62-59 Georgtown, 0:08

Outcome: After a Markel Starks missed one-and-one, Boatright made the right play, dishing to Omar Calhoun on the left wing for a game-tying 3-pointer. Boatright, handling the ball for a hobbled Napier, missed a wide open DeAndre Daniels at the end of the first overtime. Then, trailing 79-78 with 9.5 seconds in the second overtime, Boatright opted to keep the ball rather than reverse it to Calhoun at the top of the key. The end result: a desperate fallaway 3-pointer from the corner that scraped the backboard and nearly dropped.


vs. Cincinnati, March 2

Score: 55-53 Cincinnati, 2:19

Outcome: Boatright drew the Huskies within two on a jumper. Phil Nolan, fouled on an over-the-back, converted 1-of-2 free throws on the ensuing possession. Down 57-56, UConn had a chance to win, but R.J. Evans’ inbounds pass was tipped and intercepted. Trailing by three with five seconds remaining, Boatright lost control of the ball and was whistled for a backcourt violation.