Calhoun and Daniels carry UConn to OT
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 00:02
At the six-minute mark of the second half, Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr. had UConn sophomore DeAndre Daniels one-on-one in the low post. Porter faked to his left and scored going right. The Hoyas built a 56-46 lead and Porter proved why he is likely the Big East Player of the Year.
However, Daniels shut down Porter during the entire first half, limiting the sophomore forward to just one point on one shot.
“He took the challenge of Otto Porter and he passed it,” Head Coach Kevin Ollie said. “[Daniels] did a phenomenal job rebounding, blocking shots, diving on the floor, playing with the attitude we want to see him play with.”
Daniels finished the night with UConn’s first double-double of the season. He tallied 25 points, ten rebounds and three blocks and outperformed Porter until the last play of the game.
“It was a very tough match-up,” Porter said. “He was playing good defense, trying to make it hard for me, clogging up the paint…He was terrific.”
Georgetown’s Markel Starks, a 76-percent free throw shooter, walked to the foul line with his team up 62-59 and just eight seconds away from his team’s tenth consecutive victory. But UConn showed its resilience once more.
Starks missed the front end of the one-and-one, and junior Shabazz Napier grabbed the rebound and then threw an outlet pass to Ryan Boatright. The sophomore guard raced up the floor and found freshman Omar Calhoun on the elbow behind the three-point line.
“I’m confident when I get the ball. That’s one thing I’ve always had,” Calhoun said.
The Brooklyn guard sized up and nailed a three-pointer to send the game into overtime and the Gampel Pavilion crowd into a frenzy. Junior Niels Giffey nearly won the game in regulation when he stole the inbounds pass but missed his long jumper as time expired.
The Huskies had trailed by 12 with 4:36 left on the clock, but outscored the Hoyas 14-2 over that stretch to go in to their sixth overtime of the season.
The game was tied again at 69 at the end of the first overtime. After Napier’s potential game-winning jumper fell far short, Georgetown head coach John Thompson III called a timeout to set up a play to win the game.
With the game on the line, everyone in the building knew Porter was getting the ball.
“Coming down at the end, it was ‘let’s get a stop and then let’s get it to Otto and go,” Thompson III said.
Porter received an entry pass in the low post with Daniels smothering him, identical to the play with six minutes left in regulation. This time, Daniels forced Porter to an off-balance shot that fell short. Boatright grabbed the rebound, raced up the floor and missed a 15-foot floater to send the game into double overtime.
With two minutes remaining, the Huskies held a 78-71 and could taste the upset. But it was not to be. In the blink of an eye, Porter knocked down a three followed by a three from freshman D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera.
With just 14 seconds remaining, Smith-Rivera stripped Napier and got the ball to Porter as the Huskies scrambled to set up their defense. Neither Daniels nor Giffey could stay in front of Porter as he sliced to the basket and finished a lay-up to put the Hoyas up 79-78.
Boatright’s desperation heave from the corner was no good and Porter was swarmed by his teammates at center court.
Porter finished with 22 points, five rebounds and four assists, but most importantly lifted his team to victory.
Shabazz Napier injured his right foot early in the second half after landing awkwardly on Georgetown’s Hopkins while going up for a rebound.
“I just tweaked it in the game. I’ll know for sure [on Thursday]. It’s sore,” Napier said.
Napier was in a protective boot for precautionary measures after the game. It is the same foot that Napier had surgery on over the summer.