No. 22 Ocon survived, beating No. 19 Auburn 115-109 in 2OT
Paradise Island – Shot after shot, player No. 19 Auburn and No. 22 Connecticut were rocking back and forth facing each other seemingly oblivious to the pressure from the waning clock in an ever-prolonged game in Battle 4 Atlantis.
It might have been a starring early in the season, but it looked like a thriller in March — until the second overtime when Tyler Polley and Adama Sonogo finally helped Al Husky to a 115-109 victory in overtime twice in the first round on Wednesday.
“Good tip for November, isn’t it?” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said.
Indeed, the first game of overtime in the event’s 10-year history had a lot: big shots, breakout responses, frantic sequences, and even players diving to the ground for a weak bounce in the final seconds of a possession match with the score. Established.
stressful? anarchism? Exciting? UConn coach Dan Hurley will choose all of the above.
“Now you have a chance to sit down and think about how many different ways it could go the other way in regulation, or really from the five-minute mark all the way to the second overtime,” Hurley said. “Just a slew of things that happened that were mind-boggling and mind-blowing.”
Polly scored a career high of 24 points and hit the green pointer 3 with 2:58 from the left in the second overtime, and also scored a 3 point lead with 12.5 seconds left. He finished 6 out of 9 out of a 3-point span.
Sanogo scored a career best 30 points and stayed on the ground despite playing in the crucial late minutes with four fouls for Husky (5-0), who blew a 15-point lead in regulation and squandered a late lead in the first overtime. But the two combined for UConn’s first 14 points of second overtime as UConn finally moved forward.
RJ Cole, who had 24 points with UConn, said: “I thought so many times we could have won the match. They wouldn’t go without a fight and we knew that. So we just kept talking to each other and keep pushing, knowing it wasn’t going to be easy and we had to fight back. Order this person to win.”
DKD Johnson and freshman Jabari Smith had a huge performance of their own with the Tigers (3-1). Johnson scored 23 points from a career high of 27 points after the break, including leading baskets in the final seconds of regulation and the first game-extension overtime.
“I was just trying to do anything to get a W,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t really focused on anything, how it was going. I was just trying to win.”
The Big Picture
UConn: Polley’s greenlight 3 right wing started the decisive 9-0 run which propelled the Huskies to a 109-100 lead. Sanogo added two grueling baskets in traffic as well as a pair of free throws for the maximum run, part of a 12-for-12 effort on the line in overtime that helped UConn stay in control as Auburn tried to make a final run.
Auburn: This is the first trip here for the Tigers, who were coming off a 58-52 win in South Florida on Saturday. They looked destined for a major loss in the Regulations before falling back, but eventually fizzled out by shooting only 5 of 17 from the field in the second overtime as UConn made his move to end the Tigers’ title hopes and send them to the consolation arc.
“This is gone here,” said Pearl. “The missed opportunity. Let’s win two games.”
As the trumpet went off, Polly began hopping into the UConn seat to celebrate with his teammates, though the celebration was frozen for a moment upon seeing Isaiah Wally sitting on the sideline in front of the bench. A few moments later, Wally got up with a smile to join the handshake line.
Then Hurley said that Whaley – who played 43 minutes – fainted and that he thought the 6-foot-9 striker “stood too fast” off the bench and there were no obvious concerns about dehydration.
Later Wednesday night, the school said Whaley had a “combination of end-game excitement, fatigue and dehydration” that left him feeling dizzy and dizzy. UConn said the medical and training staff have determined there is no cause for concern.
Smith had 19 of 22 after halftime for Auburn. This included a three-pointer in front of his seat with 2:39 left in the standings to lead 76-74 after the Tigers slipped 65-50 near the 11-minute mark.
That was part of a straight seven-point stretch for 6-10 McDonald’s All American, who also went 12 of 12 at the wrong streak.
“He’s not afraid of the moment,” Pearl said.
“In the second half, I thought he took the ball to the basket with more power and obviously got to the error line a lot in the second half, which shows a lot of maturity for a young player.”
Ocon: Haskeon will face Michigan State in the semifinals on Thursday.
Auburn: The Tigers will face Loyola Chicago in the funeral arc on Thursday.
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