Ryan Boatright

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Ryan Boatright last-second 3-pointer keeps UConn’s NCAA tournament hopes alive

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Stop me if you’ve heard this story before. A UConn point guard hit a big shot in March.

With seconds winding down in a 54-54 tie game, Ryan Boatright crossed over Octavius Ellis to create enough space for the last-second 3-pointer — bringing back instance reminders of Kemba Walker’s epic step-back game-winner over Pitts’ Gary McGhee — as UConn defeated Cincinnati, 57-54, in the American Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinals in Hartford.

Boatright ended with a game-high 18 points.

The Huskies, the reigning national champions, keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive for another day.

Freshmen Tyus Jones, Melo Trimble among finalists for Bob Cousy Award

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Friday morning the finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, annually given to the nation’s best point guard by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, were announced. Among the players on the list are two of the nation’s best freshmen, Duke’s Tyus Jones and Maryland’s Melo Trimble.

They’re the only two first-year players on the list, which includes six seniors, five juniors and four sophomores.

From a conference standpoint the Pac-12 leads the way with four finalists, with Arizona’s T.J. McConnell, Cal’s Tyrone Wallace, Utah’s Delon Wright and Washington’s Nigel Williams-Goss being the players on the list. In total nine conferences are represented. Also making the cut is BYU junior Kyle Collinsworth, who has tallied an NCAA-record five triple-doubles this season.

Below is the list of finalists for the award, which was won by UConn’s Shabazz Napier last season.

2015 Bob Cousy Award Finalists

T.J. McConnell, Arizona (senior)
Kyle Collinsworth, BYU (junior)
Tyrone Wallace, California (junior)
Ryan Boatright, UConn (senior)
Tyus Jones, Duke (freshman)
Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga (senior)
Keifer Sykes, Green Bay (senior)
Yogi Ferrell, Indiana (junior)
Monte Morris, Iowa State (sophomore)
Terry Rozier, Louisville (sophomore)
Melo Trimble, Maryland (freshman)
Marcus Paige, North Carolina (junior)
Kris Dunn, Providence (junior)
Delon Wright, Utah (senior)
Nigel Williams-Goss, Washington (sophomore)
Juwan Staten, West Virginia (senior)
Fred Van Vleet, Wichita State (junior)

POSTERIZED: Cincinnati’s Gary Clark dunks on UConn’s Ryan Boatright (VIDEO)

SMU v Cincinnati
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Why did you try to jump with Gary Clark, Ryan Boatright? The UConn senior is 6-feet tall and giving up seven inches to Clark, who threw down on him with ease.

(H/T: Mike Rutherford)

New Year’s Resolutions: UConn Huskies

Kevin Ollie
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source: AP
Ryan Boatright (AP)

Conference play is right around the corner, so over the course of the next two weeks, College Basketball Talk will be detailing what some of the country’s best, most intriguing, and thoroughly enigmatic teams should resolve to do with the New Year right around the corner. What can we say, we’re in a giving mood. Thank Jessica Simpson.

MORE: The rest of our New Year’s Resolutions | Midseason catchups

UCONN PROMISES TO: Get Ryan Boatright consistent help on the perimeter.

  • It will happen because: Despite the numbers, UConn’s perimeter rotation doesn’t lack for talent. Of course there’s Daniel Hamilton, who has been one of the better freshmen in the country and has the ability to make plays not only for himself but for others as well. NC State transfer Rodney Purvis, while he’s off to a slow start, can put points on the board and maybe his 21-point outing against Columbia is a sign of what’s to come now that he’s healthy. Add in Sam Cassell Jr., a solid defender in Terrence Samuel and (if he can stay healthy) Omar Calhoun, and depth won’t be an issue for UConn on the perimeter. As the season wears on, that should result in more productivity.
  • It won’t happen because: Of the players in UConn’s perimeter rotation just two, Boatright (44.2%) and Hamilton (45.8%), were shooting better than 40 percent from the field prior to their game against Columbia Monday night with Purvis (42.9%) making the jump thanks to his performance against the Lions. Part of that is simply not knocking down shots, but there’s also the matter of not taking too many challenged perimeter shots. Boatright’s been solid at both getting shots at the rim and converting, as 34.5% of his attempts have come in that area of the floor and he’s made 66.7% of those attempts per hoop-math.com. If anything they need Hamilton to use his skill to get even more shots in the paint, as just 18.1% of his attempts thus far have come at the rim.

UCONN ALSO SWEARS THEY WON’T: Settle for too many challenged jumpers, instead working to attack the basket more.

  • It will happen because: While UConn has taken fewer three-pointer than any team in the American, they’ve also attempted fewer free throws than any team in the conference. UConn’s attempted just 170 free throws through nine games (18.9 FTA/game), with Boatright (59 attempts) and Amida Brimah (31) combining for 90 of those attempts. Thus far most of the rotation has found it tough to get to the foul line, with a number of those players (most notably Hamilton, Purvis and Cassell) pulling up for jumpers as opposed to seeking contact closer to the basket.
  • It won’t happen because: With the number of players who either weren’t part of the rotation (or program, for that matter) or have seen their roles changes from last year to this, the Huskies should become more comfortable with each other in Kevin Ollie’s offensive system as the season wears on. Hopefully for them that will lead to more opportunities around the basket, which in turn will allow UConn to take greater advantage of their ability to knock down free throws. At 72.4% the Huskies are one of the best foul shooting teams in the American, and that includes a big man in Brimah who’s made 71 percent of his attempts thus far.

Jack Montague’s game-winning 3-pointer lifts Yale over UConn, 45-44 (VIDEO)

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Yale stunned in-state rival UConn, 45-44, at Gampel Pavilion at Storrs on Friday night. The result was shocking, but the last-second shot was a familiar sight for the Huskies.

With 3.5 seconds left in the game, Jack Montague, who was 0-for-6 from the field to that point, cut across the court — from the right elbow to the baseline — on the baseline out-of-bounds play. The misdirection freed up Montague for the open 3-pointer. He drilled it, giving the Bulldogs a one-point win. The shot came from the same corner where Texas forward Jonathan Holmes hit his game-winning three to knock off the Huskies last Sunday.

Yale was just 3-of-21 from three, but was in control for much of the game, holding the lead for the first 33 minutes on Friday night. The Bulldogs were also the aggressor on the glass with a 36-25 advantage on the boards, including a 13-1 edge in offensive rebounds.

Sears finished with a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Javier Duren led all scorers with 15. Amida Brimah and Cassell led UConn with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Ryan Boatright, who missed the front-end of a one-and-one with 11 seconds left, finished with a season-low six points of 3-of-9 shooting.

For Yale, this win not only boosts its non-conference resume, it cements the Bulldogs as the biggest threat to end Harvard’s reign over Ivy League hoops. This is the third straight loss for UConn, who previously lost to West Virginia and Texas, as the American Athletic Conference as a whole continues to struggle, though, SMU was able to knock off Wyoming at home on Friday, battling with the Cowboys for much of the night.

UConn senior guard listed as day-to-day with sprained ankle

UConn's Ryan Boatright (AP Photo)
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UConn received encouraging news on Tuesday as senior guard Ryan Boatright has been listed as day-to-day with a sprained ankle, according to the school. The 6-foot Boatright appeared to roll his ankle a couple times in a loss to Texas on Sunday as the guard was seen lying on the court, clutching his ankle in pain after the game.

There was no structural damage to the ankle and Boatright wore a walking boot on Tuesday and received treatment. His status for Friday’s game against Yale is yet to be determined.

This is positive news for the Huskies overall since it looks like Boatright won’t miss much time and will be back within a week or so. Boatright has been a big-time performer for head coach Kevin Ollie this season as he’s averaged 20.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4 assists per game to go along with 1.6 steals. The native of Aurora, Illinois is also shooting a career-best 43 percent from the field and 82 percent from the free-throw line for UConn.

If Boatright isn’t ready to go, or even less than 100 percent, the Huskies will need junior guard Sam Cassell Jr. to step up and make some plays. So far, Cassell Jr. has struggled to find consistency with his perimeter jumper.