Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The UConn Duel at the Garden
It was epic, a showdown of two of UConn’s best shooting guards that couldn’t have been scripted any better. Ben Gordon and Ray Allen both having quiet games in their previous match-up put on a show for the ages, knocking down gigantic shot after gigantic shot. They combined for 72 points, 23 out of 42 from the floor, 12 for 21 from three, and 14 for 15 from the line. This game put UConn basketball into another stratosphere. Sure their has been a great rivalry with Allen and Hamilton, but never has their been an offensive outburst of UConn Alumni in a playoff atmosphere where so much was on the line. Gordon and the Bulls smelled blood in the water, possibly knocking the defending champs into an improbable 0 and 2 start in a best of seven series, but Ray wasn’t going out without a fight.
Ben was simply amazing, hitting the silky smooth three ball, driving to the lane and knocking down jump shots, and getting to the line. Ray looked to be having another sub-par game, only having 2 points in the first half, but then he attacked the basket and got smacked by Noah. Sinking those free throws and having a bit of anger for motivation, he ran around double and triple screens and began hitting shots. Back and forth, the UConn shooting guards traded baskets. It was going to come down to the player who had the ball last and the smell of burnt clutch lingered in the building after Allen hit the final shot that left the Bulls with no time to get the ball up the court and back into Gordon’s hands.
For a UConn fan, it doesn’t get any better then this. Being able to see two of your programs elite players, at the same position, at different eras, being able to play at their best against each other at both ends of the floor is simply phenomenal. It has placed UConn basketball this year into a whole new standard and with a Final Four under their belt, it has been set pretty high.