They were the 11 points that saved the UConn season. They were the 11 points that made this night worth the two years of wishing and waiting by Kevin Ollie and a bunch of guys who had been embarrassed by Iowa State and Royce White in that last NCAA Tournament game in 2012.
Not one of these 11 points would be scored by Shabazz Napier, who struggled all night shooting and still managed to lead UConn with 24 points. Not one of these 11 points would be scored by No. 11 Ryan Boatright, the Huskies best player for most of the game, as they scratched to avoid a harsh, immediate end to their March dreams. Not one came from three-point dead-eye Niels Giffey.
They came from DeAndre Daniels. They came from Amida Brimah. The Huskies won at the end without the miracle-worker working any miracles. That's right. They won another one of those games that stops hearts without Shabazz breaking out the defibrillator and shocking his team back to life.
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Six of the 11 points in this four-minute span that would end with an 89-81 overtime victory over St. Joseph's and would save the UConn season would come from Daniels. Five, including three free throws, would come from the 7-0 foot freshmen.
Six, on two three-point plays, from the guy from LA who UConn fans always fret will miss the first couple of shots and then disappear for the rest of the game.
Five from the big guy from Ghana who UConn fans always fret will foul out in 10 minutes and be stapled to the bench while his game should be developing in leaps in bounds.
Well, guess what?
"Oh, they brought a lot tonight," Ollie said.
They brought an awful lot.
It would probably have been romantic poetry and definitely spontaneous UConn Nation combustion if Napier sank that last-second shot in regulation off a perfectly executed full-court desperation Valparaiso-style play that began under the Huskies' basket. The game was tied at 70 and with 1.9 seconds left. Shabazz has been Kemba before. Shabazz has been so many UConn heroes in the past two seasons. So why not Tate George for an encore, right?
Nope. This was too much of a grind-out, battle-it-into-overtime kind of game for one shot to be etched into UConn basketball history. St. Joe's had outplayed UConn for much of the night, too much of the night. The Huskies' defense was not good in the first half. There were too many St. Joe's dunks. There were too many successful back-door plays. There were too many perimeter shots by Langston Galloway and creative moves by big man Halil Kanacevic. Obviously, 56 percent shooting by the Hawks in the first half was way too much. The Huskies were fortunate to be down by just five at halftime.
No, it would take 11 points to save the season, not just two or three points, not one play. With the Huskies down, 66-64, Daniels hit a huge three with 2:09 left to give UConn a one-point lead. Phil Martelli screamed for a timeout and Chris Wilson responded with a floater in the lane to give St. Joe's the lead back. Napier then turned the ball over under his basket. Wilson sank two free throws with 49 seconds left after he was fouled by Daniels on another shot in the lane.
UConn was down by three. Dial up a hero time. Boatright? Giffey? Daniels? No, no, no, it had to be Napier, right? He drove the lane. Napier had eight rebounds, six assists and was 8-for-8 from the free throw line. He would have nine points in overtime. He wasn't ready to go home. He wasn't ready to exit the college stage. He also missed a bunch of shots. He missed too many shots and this desperation drive to the hoop missed badly.
There was Brimah. There was the big guy. There were times, especially at the beginning of the season, when he had no offensive feel, no real feel for the nuances of the game. Yes, he could defend. Yes, he could block shots. Yet in recent weeks, he has shown more maturity in his game, more feel for the nuances, more composure. And there he was, with the season on the line, not only grabbing the rebound, but scoring on a little jump hook and sinking an immense pressure free throw with 39 seconds left to complete the three-point play to tie the game at 70.
"Amida showed a lot of maturity and a lot of heart for that possession," Boatright said. "Man, for him to make that play, just for him to go to the line like he knew he was going to make it. He went to the line with the swag … and knocked it down."
Yep, the big guy from Ghana with the crazy swag.
"Amida got a great offensive rebound, went to the right hook and that's pretty much money in the bank when he turns over the left shoulder," Ollie said. "He got a foul and got excited. He composed himself and knocked down the free throw.
"We have to trust each other. Ryan Boatright trusts Amida to throw it up and not throw it at the big fella's ankles. He stepped up and made those free throws. There are certain things you don't see, but he has been working on that every day after practice with Glen Miller, every day, every day. Those are things under the waterline that a lot of people don't see."
Maybe under the waterline, but they crashed like a waterfall when it mattered most.
Daniels completed UConn's third three-point play in a row 1:13 into overtime. It came off another missed jumper by Napier. Daniels not only scored on the put-back, he fouled out Kanacevic. St. Joe's went with five guys most of the night and this was a killer for the Hawks. So the play was a double blow.
Yes, Galloway answered with a three, but Brimah answered with two more free throws and UConn would never relinquish the lead.
"I saw the rebound, I just went and in hard and got I," Brimah said. "I've been working hard on my free throws in practice, and it paid off tonight.
"I was nervous at the start of the game, but once I got in I got into the flow of it."
All that work under the waterline led to the waterfall.
Two last-minute heroes and their names weren't Shabazz.
How about that?