Question: What was the defensive play that preceded The Dunk?
(While you’re thinking about it: I’ve decided that Summers’ throwdown is definitely worth of being labeled “The Dunk.” The combination of the spectacularness of the play and the stage on which it was made make it the greatest dunk in the history of the program. The Magic-to-Kelser dunk off the full-court pass in the 1979 championship game is iconic, but had no bearing on the outcome of the game. The Cleaves-to-Peterson play against Iowa State was probably more key in terms of determing the game outcome, but I think of that more as an alley-oop than as a straight-up dunk.)
Answer: A defensive sequence in which 6’5″ (if that) Draymond Green was guarding 7’3″ Hasheem Thabeet. UConn got the ball to Thabeet in the post. But Green’s superb defensive positioning prevented Thabeet from getting into position to score. Thabeet was forced to throw an awkward pass out to the perimeter, which was deflected by Raymar Morgan. The rest, as they say, is history.
Other post-DVR-review thoughts:
- Apparently sitting so far from the action impaired by ability to write an accurate game recap. Corrections/clarifications: The “team rebound” MSU got that Morgan scored off early in the game was Thabeet blocking Morgan’s first shot out of bounds. Travis Walton recorded 8, not 9, assists (still, that’s equal to the total number of assists for the entire UConn team). Suton’s backdoor pass to Summers came with 2 and a half minutes left, not in the final minute. Gray’s dunk came off a Raymar Morgan pass. Idong Ibok did more than just absorb fouls; he also had a couple very nice rebounds.
- Man, did we push the ball on offense. I don’t think I’ve seen us that aggressive in transition since the 2005 Torbert/Brown/Ager/Anderson team.
- Just before Korie Lucious went on his 9-point scoring burst late in the first half, MSU trailed by 2 points, despite the fact they were only 2-10 from 3-point range at that point. That’s perhaps the hallmark of this team relative to last year’s team: Even when they’re not hitting on all cylinders, they find ways to stay in the game and put themselves in position to win the game in the second half.
- I’ve read some criticism of Clark Kellogg in the last couple days–with some going so far as to say they miss Billy Packer. I’m not quite sure where’s that’s coming from. Kellogg provides solid analytical commentary, with just a touch of humor (fouling out equals a “Dairy Queen”). I think he’s held back a little bit in terms of the depth of the analysis. But that makes sense for someone calling games with large TV audiences, which include a lot of viewers who aren’t die-hard basketball fans. The main thing is that he doesn’t superimpose his own strongly-held views on to the game. (Unlike some other major network talking heads, for example, he pointed out early and often that MSU would do well to push the ball in transition in last night’s game.) Plus, he gets props for revelaing that Draymond Green’s nickname is “Dancing Bear.”
Alright, on to North Carolina. Less than 24 hours to go.