UConn Beats Auburn, Survives
No. 19 Auburn and No. 22 Connecticut traded shots in the Battle 4 Atlantis, apparently oblivious to the ticking time.
It was an early-season competition, but Tyler Polley and Adama Sonogo helped the Huskies win 115-109 in double overtime on Wednesday.
“NICE TIP FOR NOVEMBER, RIGHT?” BRUCE PEARL, AUBURN COACH
A game of two possessions might end with players tumbling on the floor for a loose rebound in the dying seconds.
Exhausting? Chaotic? Thrilling?
Coach Dan Hurley would choose all of them.
In regulation, from the five-minute mark to the second overtime, Hurley noted there were numerous ways it could’ve gone.
“A LOT OF MIND-BOGGLING, MIND-NUMBING THINGS HAPPENED.”
Polley recorded a career-high 24 points and nailed the game-winning 3-pointer with 2:58 remaining in the second OT. He made 6 of 9 3s.
Sanogo led the Huskies (5-0), who blew a 15-point lead in regulation and a late-game advantage in the first OT.
Both scored 14 points in the second overtime to give UConn a decisive lead. “I believed we could’ve won the game many times “UConn’s R.J. Cole scored 24 points.
“We knew they wouldn’t go down without a fight. So we just kept talking and pushing, knowing it wasn’t going to be easy and we’d have to battle for this one to win.” K.D. Johnson and Jabari Smith both had strong games for the Tigers (3-1).
Johnson scored 23 of his career-high 27 points after halftime, including two clutch baskets in regulation and the first OT.
“I was simply wanting to win,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t really focused on anything. I simply wanted to win.”
With a 109-100 advantage, Polley’s game-winning 3 from the right-wing ignited a 9-0 run for the Huskies. Then Sanogo added two difficult buckets in traffic and two free throws to help UConn hold on as Auburn attempted to rally.
Auburn: The Tigers were coming off a 58-52 victory against South Florida on Saturday. UConn ended the Tigers’ championship dreams by shooting 5 of 17 from the field in the second overtime, sending them to the consolation bracket.
“THIS ONE GONE, “PEARL SAYS “OPPORTUNITY GONE. LET US WIN TWO.”
In front of the UConn bench, Isaiah Whaley lay on the sideline, causing the celebration to halt.
Whaley smiled and stood up to join the handshake line.
He stated Whaley, who had played 43 minutes, had fainted and that he felt the 6-foot-9 forward had “just got up too quickly” off the bench.
A “combination of post-game exhilaration, tiredness, and dehydration” left Whaley disoriented and lightheaded later Wednesday night.
Officials at UConn found there is no reason for worry.
GROWTH OF SMITH
Auburn’s Smith had 19 of his 22 after the break. The Tigers had trailed 65-50 with 2:39 remaining in regulation when he hit a 3-pointer from in front of his bench to make it 76-74.
The 6-10 McDonald’s All-American scored seven consecutive points and made 12 of 12 free throws.
SAID PEARL, “HE’S NOT AFRAID OF NOW.”
“I felt he put the ball to the basket with greater authority in the second half and went to the foul line a lot, which shows maturity for a young player.”
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