John F. Silver
Of course they did. It’s only fitting.
Ryan Boatright scored 23 points including a three-point play to break a tie with 19 seconds left as UConn ended the 2013 season with a 63-59 win over Providence before a capacity crowd at Gampel Pavilion on Saturday.
The Huskies, ineligible for any postseason tournaments due to the Academic Progress Rating, finish the year 20-10 on the season and 10-8 in the Big East. They played their seventh overtime game this season, and did it in their final game in the Big East.
DeAndre Daniels scored 19 points and added eight rebounds and four blocks while Shabazz Napier added 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists in his return from injury.
Providence tied the score at 45 with 45 seconds left on a pair of free throws from LaDontae Henton. The Huskies called timeout and set up Boatright on a 1-4 isolation play. Boatright, who had tied the game in regulation with two free throws, drove to his left and pulled up for a shot. He was hit by Providence’s Bryce Cotton but managed to hit the jumper from about 17 feet. Boatright’s free throw made it 62-59.
Providence’s Cotton got a good look at a 3-point with 10 seconds left, but it went off the back iron with Napier rebounding. Napier hit 1 of 2 free throws with eight seconds left to seal the game.
The Huskies played the game without Omar Calhoun, who sat out with a wrist injury and with Niels Giffey and Tyler Olander also hurt. The Huskies played four players 40 plus minutes and only got 16 minutes total off the bench. Daniels, Napier and Boatright combined for 58 of UConn’s 63 points.
Kadeem Batts scored 14 points to lead Providence (17-13, 9-9) while Henton had nine points and 11 rebounds. The Friars desperately needed the win for its NCAA tournament chances.
They would be in if they were eligible, but will now head into the offseason with an unsure future. UConn’s conference home will be different and there are questions if any of the current players in Napier, Boatright and the improving Daniels might declare early for the NBA.
The team was honored at the conclusion of the game in a short ceremony.