A collective concerned breath was taken in by the pro-UConn crowd during the NCAA national championship game as secondary star Ryan Boatright turned his ankle badly and began hobbling. He could’ve been benched and forced to watch his team try to win the national championship from the bench, but he didn’t want that. He pushed through, told coach Kevin Ollie that he wanted to stay in the game and that’s exactly what he did.
He hit a key turnaround floater to put the Huskies up 56-50 in a play that turned the tide in a tightly contested game. Even though Shabazz Napier was still the star of the show, Boatright turned in a truly championship-worthy performance. This is something that people will talk about for quite some time. In the end, that’s what determines a legendary performance on the biggest stage in sports.
Nobody in Storrs, Connecticut will ever forget Boatright’s performance as it keyed his squad to victory. As is so often the case, the sidekick actually ending up playing a leading role when the lights were brightest. That’s what makes sports interesting — nobody ever knows who’s going to step up.
No question about it — the man who stepped up for Connecticut tonight was Boatright and he contributed in a huge way to Connecticut’s second championship in the last half decade. This performance will live on forever, as will the jewelry Boatright will get to wear on his finger. Injured ankle and all, the thrilling win will numb the pain.