NEW YORK – UConn defeated Boston College 72-70 in the 2K Sports semifinal on Thursday evening. The meeting at Madison Square Garden brought back memories of some of the last battles these two waged in their Big East days. On this evening, the Garden crowd saw the Huskies pulled out a thriller.
Three points stand out:
1. Remembering days past. For one night it was like the Big East days as previously noted. Though the players on neither side could remember those BC-UConn battles of the Big East, UConn coach Kevin Ollie remembers. His counterpart, Steve Donahue of BC, knows both teams could meet in Puerto Rico next season. Down the road, the respective coaches said they would be willing to keep the series going but conference consideration take precedence. On this night it was a treat and walk down memory lane.
2. BC is resilient. The Huskies threatened to pull away several times but the Eagles responded with runs of their own. At 1-4 Donahue mirrors the attitude of his club saying “we are a good basketball team.” The BC mentor did say the Eagles must “learn how to finish games.”
A basically perimeter oriented team saw Ryan Anderson use his versatility to also get to the basket. The 6-8 junior led the Eagles with 22 points. Sophomore guard Olivier Hanlan added 19. DeAndre Daniels of UConn came up big, leading all scorers with 23 points.
3. The defensive efficiency was 109. UConn entered with an above average 93 defensive efficiency. Giving up an efficiency of that number was not a concern of Ollie. Making the defensive plays and getting the stops when needed was of greater importance than a point allowed or defensive efficiency. And UConn responded on the defensive end when it mattered most.
The Huskies forced only 10 BC turnovers but did enjoy a significant 16-2 advantage in points off turnovers.