The Huskies of Connecticut had to give everything they had to sneak away from 10-seed Saint Joe’s in the second round of the NCAA tournament to advance to the round of 32. After forcing overtime, the Huskies went on a 7-0 run to go up 80-73 with a minute left in the extra period and never looked back. Despite all that the Hawks did to stay in the game, the Huskies did all the right things down the stretch to keep their distance from the underdog.
Down by three and desperately in need of a big basket, Amida Brimah of UConn came away with an offensive rebound, went up strong with it, and put it in the basket while drawing a foul, converting on the old-fashioned three-point play to tie the game. One stop later and a failed Hail Mary later, we had free basketball.
All game long, Saint Joe’s was testing the will of the UConn Huskies, steadily leading by eight or nine for most of the first half. The physical presence of Halil Kanacevic was lost late in regulation after he committed his fifth foul. The senior was wreaking havoc in the paint, clogging lanes and making it difficult for the Huskies to finish inside. He had seven rebounds and 12 points before fouling out.
Shabazz Napier had his struggles in the first half, but staying aggressive down the stretch. After only scoring five points in the first half, the AAC Player of the Year scored 19 points in the second half and overtime to help propel the Huskies into the next round. Langston Galloway paced the Hawks with 25 points in the game.
UConn will play the winner of Villanova and Milwakee on Saturday for a shot at the Sweet Sixteen.