Ryan Boatright might be the smallest Husky at a generous with a generous 6-foot listing, but he loomed large at the end of Thursday night’s 72-70 win over Boston College. Boatright blocked Lonnie Jackson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer to seal the win and send UConn into the championship game.
“I knew there was only 2.7 seconds on the clock and I knew when the big dude caught it in the middle he held it, so I knew as soon as my man got his hands on the ball he was going to try and chuck it up,” he said afterwards. “I just tried to contest it and stay away from body contact. He tried to sell it, and I thought they were going to call it the way my fouls were going, but thank god he didn’t call it.”
Boatright turned in an all-around solid game for the Huskies with nine points, five rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 32 minutes. He also only had one of the Huskies’ amazingly low three turnovers for the entire game.
“Man, you see how tight the game was with those three turnovers that was real key,” Boatright said. “If we had the normal 10 or 8 turnovers, that could have been the game right there. Having three turnovers was huge.”
Even though he has had to share the backcourt spotlight with Shabazz Napier, Boatright’s play has been a big plus to the Huskies in their 5-0 start. Everyone knows he can score, but the junior has worked on spreading the wealth around.
“I’ve really matured and watched a lot of film over the summer trying to become a pure point guard because that’s what I’m going to have to be at the next level, a point guard,” Boatright said. “I’ve learned getting my teammates involved early gives them confidence and makes my job a lot easier. I know I can get to the basket and score when I need to but having my teammates confidence up helps the team and it gets everyone going.”
Coach Kevin Ollie has been pleased with his progress.
“He did a lot of great things,” Ollie said. “I know he’s disappointed and wants to score a little more. I told him it might be someone different every game. The game is going tom dictate itself and you just need to play for your teammates and your great university.”
That will be Boatright’s plan when the Huskies play for the 2K Sports Classic championship Friday night.
“I think we just need to play a little bit of defense,” he said. “We can always rebound better, but we got to execute tomorrow. We shot like 37 percent (39 percent) from the field or something like that, we missed a lot of shots. I think if we come out and play with more intensity on the defensive end and on the glass and try to get out shots to go down we can win.”