Obviously, Shabazz Napier, maybe the best senior left in College Basketball, got most of the praise for leading Connecticut to a 65-64 win over Florida, remaining undefeated in a slightly surprising start to the season. However, his buzzer beating shot wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for DeAndre Daniels saving the day and tipping the ball his way.
Napier made a huge four point play with 33 seconds left in the game to give UConn a one point lead, but a Michael Frazier layup with 17 seconds in the game gave Florida the 64-63 lead. UConn did what was expected of them – give the ball to Napier. Florida? They went with a 1-3-1 zone defense, and a trap that forced Napier to take a very bad shot. Luckily for him, everyone went for the rebound and left him alone. Daniels tipped the ball his way, and Napier hit from around the free throw line to win the game, as UConn improved to 11-1 against ranked (Florida came in #15) non-conference opponents over the last 12 games.
You always see highlight films of the guys hitting the last shot or guys at the free throw line making the free throws. You want to be the hero. You want to be the guy who’s known as the hero at the end of the game. Growing up, I wanted to be Superman. Everyone wants to be a hero. I was fortunate enough to be in the right spot at the right time.
Napier led the team with 26 points, as they had to go through another dramatic game to keep their perfect record. They’ve already beaten Maryland and Indiana by just one point to start off the season, and it’s good for Kevin Ollie to know he might have the best clutch-shooter in the nation playing for him at point guard.
Daniels, with 14 points and 7 rebounds, was pretty much the only other player to put in a significant contribution against a tough Florida team, that dominated the boards (34-26) and was very hard to stop in the paint with Patric Young (17 points) and Casey Prather (19 points). But Florida are now facing a big point guard problem, while UConn are starting to feel like it’s 2011 all over again, with Napier, a small part of that championship team, makes everyone think of Kemba Walker.
Another one-point game, but, once again, we showed our resolve. … You look on the stat sheet, and I don’t know how we do it. They shoot 49 percent and outrebound us, but, at the end of the day, we get it done. It’s a magical team. They’ve been through a lot.