Jan. 29, 2012
By Erika Wentzell
It was a heartbreaking finish for the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team on Sunday, who lost to the Notre Dame by a 50-48 score before a soldout and ready-to-rock crowd at the XL Center.
The game was low in scoring but high in importance for the Huskies.
The final ten seconds of the game were a rollercoaster ride for the crowd. UConn’s Jeremey Lamb was fouled with two seconds remaining in the game and he made the right decision to miss the second free throw in order to get a rebound; however, he missed the potential typing jumper just as time expired.
“We lost because we didn’t play well. We didn’t lose because Jeremey didn’t give it a good try to try to miss that second one. We tipped it, we got the shot….but that’s not how we lost the game,” said UConn coach Jim Calhoun was adamant that Lamb’s missed shot was not the source of the defeat.
Despite his coach’s sentiment, when Lamb spoke after the game he was visibly deflated and seemed to be feeling the team’s loss on his own shoulders.
“They said ‘make the first one, miss the second one.’ I got the rebound and I missed my floater,” said Lamb. “I don’t know how I missed it, but I missed it.”
The Irish, who handed Syracuse their first loss of the season last Saturday, used possession time as their key weapon.
Calhoun applauded how well Notre Dame executed their plan -- “it was a possession game, and they took it away from us. They deserve 100 percent credit. And we did a very poor job. With what we have coming up, it’s a difficult loss.”
UConn and Notre Dame faced off just two weeks ago in South Bend with a very different result. The Huskies managed to break ND’s 29 wins at home streak with a 14-point advantage, which makes Sunday’s loss taste that much more tough.
The Huskies entered the game with a lot to be excited about. They were the first of seven men’s teams from around the country to take the court in brand new Elite Platinum uniforms courtesy of Nike.\
Sunday also marked the return of freshman guard Ryan Boatright, who had been declared eligible to play by UConn and the NCAA on Saturday after missing the three previous games.
“It felt good just to be back on the court competing,” said Boatright after the game. “ It’s painful to have to sit out and watch.”
He certainly tried his best to let the crowd know “Boat” was back in the house as all six of his points were earned with style at crucial points in the game. He made a statement play to put UConn up by three going into the half with an impressive jumper. His second basket was deemed the play of the game in a breathtaking reverse layup. And his final layup brought UConn within three points of the Irish with one minute of play remaining.
The Huskies will certainly benefit from having Boatright back in commission the rest of the way.