No. 2 Connecticut Takes Battle Of Seattle Over No. 8 Gonzaga In OT
Dec. 20, 2008
SEATTLE (AP) -A.J. Price scored a season-high 24 points - including the 3-pointer that sent the game into overtime - and Jerome Dyson scored six of his 21 points in the extra period to rally No. 2 Connecticut to a wild, 88-83 victory over eighth-ranked Gonzaga on Saturday.
Dyson and Price rallied the Huskies (10-0) from 11 points down with 12 minutes remaining inside sold-out KeyArena. The raucous scene reminded Seattle what big-time basketball was like in the arena before the NBA's SuperSonics became awful, then moved to Oklahoma City last summer.
Steven Gray scored a career-high 23 points for the Bulldogs (8-2), who fought through the frustration and foul trouble of leading scorer Josh Heytvelt but still lost for the second time in three games.
Gavin Edwards had 14 points, a career-high 12 rebounds and a key steal late in regulation, while Price added a career-best 10 assists for Connecticut, which had only two opponents finish within a dozen points of them this season until Saturday.
The Huskies were playing just their second regular-season game on the West Coast in 10 years. It was the 1,121st game of Jim Calhoun's college coaching career, but first in Seattle.
And it was memorable.
Connecticut rallied from an 11-point deficit eight minutes into the second half, tying the game at 74 with 7.8 seconds left in regulation on a forced 3-pointer by Price with defender Jeremy Pargo in his face and the crowd roaring at him. Price pumped his fists in defiance after the shot, then stripped Pargo of the ball in the lane to force the overtime.
The Huskies then took over by relentlessly attacking Gonzaga's foul-troubled and soft inside. Behind Edwards and Dyson, UConn scored 10 of the first 13 points in overtime to stay unbeaten with one game remaining against Fairfield on Friday before Big East play begins.
Gonzaga led 72-70 with 1:44 left in regulation after two free throws by UConn's Jeff Adrien. The Huskies then had the ball with less than a minute remaining and a chance to tie, but Gonzaga's Austin Daye tipped the inbounds from Price into the air and then fired the ball off Price out of bounds for a heady turnover.
But then Pargo threw it away to Edwards near midcourt on a long pass attempt, dooming Gonzaga's chance to clinch its first win over a team so highly ranked since an upset of No. 2 North Carolina two seasons ago.
Price made only one of two ensuing free throws with 33.1 seconds remaining to make it 72-71. Matt Bouldin answered with two free throws with 24.7 seconds left to put Gonzaga ahead 74-71, before the Price's heroics forced more fun.
Gonzaga sprinted out from halftime on an 18-6 run to take a 55-44 lead with 12:30 left on consecutive 3-pointers by Micah Downs and Heytvelt.
Heytvelt - the Bulldogs' leading scorer who was so frustrated during a quiet first half - stomped off the floor with a determined look after his 3 gave Gonzaga its largest lead.
Connecticut missed six of its first seven shots and had three consecutive turnovers during the Zags' game-turning spurt.
The Huskies also lost Dyson briefly to a leg injury and then their second-leading scorer, 7-foot-3 center Hasheem Thabeet, to his fourth foul during the run.
Thabeet eventually fouled out on the first possession of overtime, finishing with nine points and two rebounds. He was averaging 14.9 points and 12.1 rebounds coming in.