One of the most unique seasons in college basketball history is in the books.
A postseason ban, the retirement of a Hall of Fame coach, the seven-month contract for a rookie coach and the mass defections in the frontcourt all contributed to the story written by the Huskies in 2012-13.
It ended, fittingly, in overtime. Shabazz Napier and UConn needed five extra minutes to put away Providence, 63-59. Afterwards, Kevin Ollie addressed the entire season.
“That Quinnipiac game I knew we had something special,” Ollie said. “Because we had a double overtime and then we came back and played that championship game and had a chance to beat New Mexico. I was like, ‘Man, this team is going to be special.’”
Some notes, quotes and links from Saturday’s season finale:
*Ollie on 20 wins: “Getting 20 wins was one of our goals. Winning the Big East was one of our goals, and we didn’t accomplish that. But those are superficial goals. The goal I really want to talk about was the goal of being the best attitude team in America. They were the best attitude team in America.”
*Ollie on the season: “I couldn’t be happier for this group. Hopefully they stay together because the future is so bright.”
*Providence coach Ed Cooley wasn’t a fan of the foul call on Ryan Boatright’s game-winning play with 19 seconds remaining in overtime.
“We played hard and we played together,” Cooley said. “They got the right call at the right time. And really, that’s the game. Point. Period. That can go either way.”
*R.J. Evans locked down Providence guard Bryce Cotton, holding the Big East’s leading scorer to single digits (nine points) for the second time this season.
“You know coach Ollie told me earlier that he needed me to shut them down and I just took my pride and said, ‘I’m going to help us win this game,’” Evans said.
Evans, the only player UConn will lose to graduation, addressed the team in the locker room before the game. Ollie said many of the players were in tears.
“It was from the heart,” Ollie said.
*Shabazz Napier (sprained right foot) said he decided to play about 35 minutes before the game.
“In the first half, (the foot) was probably 75-80 percent and the second half it was up-down just like 55-60.”