UConn – Texas: Anatomy of a Buzzer Beater

The Situation: UConn 54 – Texas 52, 4.4 seconds left.

The Players: Connor Lammert (3 PTS, 1-2 3PT) inbounding for Texas guarded by Cassell Jr. Hamilton on Jonathan Holmes (10 PTS, 3-6 3PT). Boatright on Demarcus Holland (10 PTS, 0-0 3PT). Brimah on Myles Turner (7 PTS, 0-1 3PT). Samuel on Javan Felix (10 PTS, 2-8 3PT).

The Play: Texas stacks the left side of the court with point guard Javan Felix on the weak side guarded by Terrence Samuel. The #1 option on the play, Myles Turner, slips the screen (see below) for Jonathan Holmes and runs to the rim. With the long arms of Brimah taking away this option, Texas looks to option #2- Holmes. Holland sets a backscreen on Daniel Hamilton who gets caught behind Boatright leaving Holmes wide open in the corner. Brimah, honoring the freshman Turner, cannot get out in time and Holmes knocks down the three for the win. See below:

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* A screen slip is when a player gives the illusion of setting a screen, only to slip the screen just before contact. This tactic is used to catch defensive players who cheat early on a screen. If you need examples watch the Russel Westbrook – Kevin Durant combo in OKC.

The Aftermath: Miscommunication or broken ankle?

Daniel Hamilton on the last play: “We switched everything up in the huddle. I guess the guy behind me (presumably Boatright) didn’t know he was setting a back screen so my guy ended up getting the open shot.”     

Ryan Boatright: “When I realized my man was setting the screen, when I planted to go back the other way, it just turned and it gave out.”

Hamilton’s comments lead one to believe Coach Ollie instructed players to switch on screens in the huddle prior to the last shot. Hamilton’s actions support this theory as he allows himself to be screened, a direct contradiction to his fiesty defensive play all game. According to Boatright his ankle turned as he was planting to switch onto Holmes in the corner, the same ankle he had twisted earlier in the game.

The Verdict: Texas sunk Captain Boatright. I guess this is karma for all the ankles Boatright has broken in the past…

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