PHOTO GALLERY (Steve Slade)
UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Numerous all-time greats from the University of Connecticut’s men’s and women’s basketball programs appeared at Mohegan Sun on Friday night as part of the 2016 Calhoun Charity All-Star Game.
Despite it being the eighth time the game has been played in order to support the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center at UConn Health, it was the first time that players from the women’s program have been included in the festivities.
“It’s about UConn and basketball; not men, women or anything else,” said Jim Calhoun, legendary head coach of the men’s team. “It’s a great thing and we wanted everyone to have a good time…we just wanted to put on a nice event for the hospital.”
A big crowd came out to see its favorite former Huskies, including the likes of Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, Svetlana Abrosimova, Kemba Walker, Nykesha Sales and Shabazz Napier, compete against one another.
Don’t tell the players this was an exhibition game. What once was a double-digit fourth-quarter lead for the Blue Team turned into a sudden death overtime finish that had the Mohegan Sun Arena rocking.
In the end, it was Taliek Brown’s sideline floater that gave the Blue Team a 116-114 victory over the White Team. Jeremy Lamb was named Most Valuable Player on the men’s side with 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting.
Sales took home MVP honors for the women, scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting and grabbing four rebounds.
NBA star Andre Drummond, along with Allen, Hamilton and Napier, each netted 16 points in the loss. In the fourth quarter, it was the sharpshooting of the latter three that erased a big deficit and sent the game into overtime.
The game remained tied after the first overtime when Allen knocked down a jumper in the lane with just three seconds remaining. Brown then won it for the Blue Team on the first possession of sudden death.
Abrosimova led the women’s players on the White Team with 11 points. DeAndre Daniels scored 19 points for the Blue Team, helping Lamb to fend-off the late-game charge.
Arguably the most intriguing Calhoun Charity Game ever took place at Mohegan on Friday – but having the all-time great players back together made it a special night even before tip-off.