Fast, uptempo and highly-entertaining basketball. There’s truly nothing better.
The Connecticut Huskies and Memphis Tigers raced their way through an 86-81 overtime thriller on Saturday afternoon. Shabazz Napier and the Huskies were the eventual victors. Napier poured in a career-high 34 points and Memphis simply had no answer for the outstanding senior point guard down the stretch.
He seemed to match every Tiger score with a bucket of his own. Ryan Boatright also added 21 points and six assists for Kevin Ollie‘s, team who improved to 20-5 on the season and 8-4 in the AAC. Joe Jackson had 24 points to go along with seven assists in the hard-fought Memphis loss.
This was one of those games where neither team truly deserved to lose. For all 45 minutes, the pace of play was absolutely tremendous. It was as if we were witnessing a guard expo as so many terrific backcourt players were on display in Hartford. Napier and Boatright are versatile and tough, and always seemed to come up with big shots in the clutch.
On the Memphis side, is there a quicker team in all of college basketball? Jackson, Geron Johnson and Chris Crawford can all fly, and I haven’t seen a team as efficient as the Tigers in transition.
Memphis actually outshot the Huskies by a wide margin. They shot nearly 55 percent from the floor, while UConn only scored at a 39 percent clip. The difference came at the free throw line, though. Josh Pastner‘s team attempted only nine shots from the foul stripe. Napier and Boatright attempted 12 FTs each, and the Huskies were a combined 29-of-36.
This was a great win for UConn, and a really tough loss for Memphis, especially on the road. Regardless, both of these teams will make noise come March, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see either of these two at the Final Four in Dallas.
Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27