Two of the best guards in the nation went toe to toe today in Hartford. Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier and Memphis’ Joe Jackson played their hearts out. But, the Connecticut Huskies were able to come out on top to a score of 86-81. An overtime was needed after Napier missed a buzzer-beater that rimmed out at the end of the second half. In a battle of two top-25 teams, the Huskies will most likely move up a spot or two in the top-25.
Connecticut’s key contributors:
- Shabazz Napier – 34 points (career high), 4 rebounds, 7 assists
- Ryan Boatright – 21 points, 6 assists
- DeAndre Daniels – 8 points, 6 rebounds
- Niels Giffey – 8 points, 2 rebounds (off the bench)
Memphis’ key contributors:
- Joe Jackson – 24 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists
- Geron Johnson – 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists
- Chris Crawford – 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists
- Michael Dixon Jr. – 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
With the win, the Huskies have passed the Tigers in the standings in the American Athletic Conference. Both teams are now 8-4 in the conference, behind SMU, Louisville, and Cincinnati. UConn and Memphis have two of the best guard-tandems in the country, but UConn was able to win this one.
The Huskies will now go back on the road to play the Temple Owls, before coming home to play the 23rd ranked SMU Mustangs. With the win against the Tigers, UConn is most likely a 5-seed in the NCAA tournament. If Ryan Boatright can play like he has been recently, it would really take some weight off of Shabazz Napier’s shoulders.
March is less than thee weeks away. Now is the time for the Huskies to get hot and be ready for March Madness. If the Huskies can take a page from the 2011 team, there are plenty of reasons why this team could win the National Championship. Kevin Ollie is getting this team ready at the right time, and Shabazz and co. are starting to turn it on.
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