(WTNH)–The Ray Allen double-clutch.
The Kemba step-back.
Taliek Brown’s heave.
And now, Jalen Adams’ three-quarter-court, season-saving, buzzer-beating, Steph Curry-conjuring shot.
The freshman from Roxbury, Mass., just etched his name into UConn history with the launch of a lifetime, and the finish of a lifetime, as UConn defeated Cincinnati, 104-97, in a four-overtime classic on Friday.
— FanSportsClips (@FanSportsClips) March 11, 2016
— Joe D’Ambrosio (@JoeDSports) March 11, 2016
Jalen Adams on the shot pic.twitter.com/czTD9TiPgz
— Dom Amore (@AmoreCourant) March 11, 2016
It wasn’t just that shot that has Huskies fans feelin’ Jalen Adams though.
The freshman came up huge down the stretch, scoring 15 of his 22 points during the four overtime periods, including eight in the fourth overtime to help UConn pull away from the Bearcats. He also grabbed 5 rebounds and blocked a shot during that stretch.
It was the type of performance the Huskies had been missing all season, and Adams turned into the lead dog they haven’t had since Kemba Walker, or Shabazz Napier, who also happens to be from Roxbury, Mass.
“That was the best game, longest game I’ve been a part of,” Adams told ESPN after the game.
What was he thinking, down three with 0.8 seconds left?
“[I was thinking], I gotta get a shot off. If it goes in, it would be amazing, and if we lost, at least we went out fighting.”
Thanks to that heave, the Huskies (22-10, 12-7/AAC) are in much better position to reach the NCAA Tournament, which looked like a near-impossibility after Cincinnati’s Kevin Johnson hit a three to put the Bearcats up by three with 0.8 seconds left in the third OT.
After a brief moment of shock following Johnson’s would-be-dagger, Adams waved off sophomore guard Daniel Hamilton, took the inbounds and launched a 60-foot prayer. When it bounced off the backboard and in, the bench erupted, as did Huskies fans from Orlando to Old Saybrook.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had UConn as one of his “First Four Out” before Adams’ Hail Mary went in. Now, with another quality win (first of the season over Cincinnati) and a third crack at top-seeded Temple on Saturday afternoon, the Huskies appear to be in good shape.
Cincinnati (22-10, 12-7/AAC), on the other hand, is going to have to sweat Selection Sunday out. Lunardi had the Bearcats dropping to a 10-seed, perilously close to the bubble, after Friday’s loss.
How does Adams feel about sending the Bearcats home in one of the most devastating ways possible?
“I feel bad. I feel bad, but they played a great game, we lost twice to them. We had to get one back,” he said.
Cincinnati led throughout much of the first half and built a nine-point lead by halftime (36-27). But UConn stormed back, using a 16-4 run midway through the second half to take the lead for the first time since the opening minutes of the game.
Daniel Hamilton led Connecticut with 32 points (9-for-24 FG), 12 rebounds and 8 assists. Sterling Gibbs and Rodney Purvis each scored 14 for UConn.
Cincinnati’s Troy Caupain was valiant in defeat, putting up 37 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
Forget Syracuse. Forget the Garden. This game was better than that six-overtime classic.
Thanks to Adams and his miracle heave, UConn has renewed hope for the NCAA Tournament.
And finally, just maybe, a go-to-guy.