Connecticut's DeAndre Daniels lines up a dunk as Georgetown's Otto Porter Jr. (22) watches during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Storrs, Conn., Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Thursday, February 28, 2013 12:10 am
UConn loses to No. 7 Georgetown 79-78 in 2 OTs
By JIM O'CONNELLAP Basketball Writer
"We showed a lot of heart today," said guard Shabazz Napier, who played most of the 50 minutes after tweaking his right ankle. "It was affecting me but I was in the game and I tried to tough it out. All losses are tough. Sometimes when you feel like you had the edge and gave it away, those are the ones that really hurt."
Both teams toughed it out in No. 7 Georgetown's 79-78 victory Wednesday night, the Hoyas' 10th straight and one that kept them in first place in the Big East.
"That was a hell of a basketball game right there," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "The guys in the other locker room, they could have cashed it in. ... They fought and fought and fought. We had our chances to end it. We didn't. Then we could have cashed it in but we fought and fought and fought."
That was a double-overtime game that had two triple foughts.
"That's not a good win, it's a great win," Thompson said.
Otto Porter Jr. scored down low with 9.5 seconds remaining in the second overtime to help Georgetown erase a seven-point deficit over the final 2:03. The Hoyas knew the other side of that as well, having blown a 12-point lead over the final 4:36 of regulation.
Porter scored 21 of his 22 points after halftime for Georgetown (22-4, 12-3 Big East).
"He makes winning plays," Thompson said of Porter, who was coming off a career-high 33 points in a win over No. 12 Syracuse. "Coming down at the end, it was, `Let's get a stop and then let's get it to Otto and go.'"
The Hoyas improved to 1-3 in Gampel Pavilion, Connecticut's 23-year-old on-campus arena. The Huskies (19-8, 9-6) play most of their big conference games at the XL Center in Hartford.
This was a memorable visit for a team that, along with Syracuse, has to be considered the Huskies' biggest rival in the Big East, which is facing incredible changes in the coming years.
"I thought I had seen it all but I guess I haven't," Huskies first-year coach Kevin Ollie said. "We had it. They had it. It happens."
The Huskies are banned from any postseason play this season because of NCAA violations. They have three games left and Ollie is confident his team will show up for every one of them, as they did Wednesday night.
"Everything happens for a reason," he said. "We are teaching a life lesson through this book that we're writing. Another chapter. We're going to Cincinnati and we're going to play with heart up there."
Markel Starks had 19 points for Georgetown, while D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 14.
DeAndre Daniels had 25 points, one off his career high, and 10 rebounds for the Huskies. Napier added 16 points and Omar Calhoun had 13. Napier had six assists and backcourt mate Ryan Boatright had eight.
"It was a very, very, very emotional game," said Boatright, who had 11 points but was just 1 of 7 from 3-point range - and that included the last shot of the game. "It actually felt good coming off my hand. It was just short."
Ollie said that wasn't what he wanted for the chance to win.
"The last shot wasn't what we were looking for," he said. "Ryan was trying to rush to get the ball to the rim but Porter got there and they cut him off and got him in the corner."
The second half and two overtimes were a 3-point feast for both teams, who both were 1 for 5 from 3-point range. After halftime Georgetown, who is third in the conference at 36 percent from beyond the arc, was 10 for 15 on 3s, including making eight of its first nine. The Huskies, who lead the conference at 38.8 percent, were 10 for 24 from long range.
Porter made two free throws with 4:36 to let Georgetown match its largest lead of the game, 60-48.
Despite the double-digit deficit, the Huskies weren't about to let a sellout crowd of 10,167 leave in the rain without a run at the Hoyas.
Calhoun hit a 3-pointer to start a 9-0 spurt that was capped by two free throws from Daniels with 2:30 left that made it 60-57.
Georgetown came up empty three times on its next possession but Smith-Rivera stole the ball at midcourt and went in for a layup that gave the Hoyas a 62-57 lead with 1:08 left.
Calhoun scored on a rebound and, after Starks missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 8.7 seconds left, Calhoun nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner. With the crowd going wild, the Huskies' Niles Giffey sprinted across the court and stole the inbounds pass just past the 3-point line. He lined up and got a good look but the ball bounced off the rim.
Giffey made one free throw with 2:03 left in the second overtime to make it 78-71. There was a sigh of relief as the fans, and the Huskies, seemed to think it was over.
Nobody told the Hoyas.
Porter and Smith-Rivera hit 3s to make it a one-point game with 50 seconds left. After a turnover, Porter scored with 9.5 seconds left. The Huskies had one last chance but Boatright's shot from in front of the UConn bench bounced off the rim.
It was Connecticut's sixth overtime game of the season - the Huskies are 4-2. Georgetown is 1-1, with the loss coming on Nov. 20 against No. 1 Indiana.
"I want to coach the best-attitude team in America," Ollie said. "They are playing for something. I hate it's coming to the end, but I wouldn't take it back for the world."