A prayer of a fallaway—and the ensuing free throw— dropped for Ryan Boatright, giving UConn a three-point lead with 19 seconds remaining in overtime and propelling the Huskies to a 63-59 victory over Providence in their season finale.
UConn needed three shots to get to win No. 20, and this group— ravaged by injury— did it in fitting fashion. It was UConn’s seventh overtime game of the year, a new school record.
The Huskies, banned from postseason play, will not take part in next week’s Big East tournament.
STAR OF THE GAME: DeAndre Daniels continued his late-season tear, tallying 19 points and eight rebounds. A Daniels reverse layup tied it, 50-50, at the five-minute mark. Although Daniels carried UConn for the much of the afternoon, the offense ran through Napier and Boatright late.
KEY TO THE WIN: Ryan Boatright came up with a huge rebound in overtime and, of course, broke the 59-59 tie with his circus and-one shot. He finished with a game-high 23 poiints.
*With the game tied at the 1:03 mark of regulation, Phil Nolan was whistled for a foul on Providence’s Kadeem Batts, who buried the two free throws to give the Friars a 55-53 edge. Boatright, fouled by Providence guard Kris Dunn on the other end, tied it at the line with 32 seconds left.
*After sitting the past two games with a sprained right foot, Shabazz Napier gave it a go. The 6-foot-1 junior stuffed the stat sheet — 16 points, 8 rebounds, four assists and four steals — and provided a calming presence on offense. He drilled a wide-open 3-pointer at the top of the key to give the Huskies a 53-50 lead with 3:20 remaining, and also scored the first basket of the overtime session.
*A Kris Dunn steal and fastbreak dunk gave Providence a 48-47 lead with 7:31 remaining. Dunn, a New London native, scored nine of his 11 points in the second half. Six of them came during a 10-2 Friars run to start the final period. The 6-foot-3 freshman fouled out with 3:16 remaining in overtime.
*Omar Calhoun (sprained right wrist), Tyler Olander (fractured left foot) and Niels Giffey (fractured right index finger) sat out. The Huskies had just two scholarship players—Leon Tolksdorf and former walk-on Brendan Allen—on the bench.
*In the first meeting between Providence and UConn, the Friars punished the Huskies on the boards, tying a Big East record with a 31-rebound margin. On Saturday, the undermanned Huskies held a 39-38 advantage.